Individuals and organizations concerned about natural resources should be aware of the recent controversial proposal to divide the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. During the first session of the 104th Congress in the fall of 1995, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee approved Senate Bill 956, a measure that would establish a new Twelfth Circuit consisting of Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, and that would leave California, Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands in the Ninth Circuit. The Judiciary Committee vote was important for two reasons: the circuit's division could substantially affect natural resources in the region and throughout the nation, and no prior proposal to split the circuit has ever progressed so far, making bifurcation a possibility in the second session of the 104th Congress.

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