Bills to Protect CA Public Lands Get Votes Today in D.C.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Three bills that would protect 1 million acres of public land in California get votes today in Congress. The House Committee on Natural Resources is expected to approve all three, setting them up for a full House vote.
Amanda Barragar from Trinity County, an environmental advocate with the group Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, said the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act can help protect northern California from catastrophic wildfires.
"This bill promotes forest restoration and fuels reduction work," she said, "especially along roads, where most fires start, and near communities."
Another bill, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, would extend wilderness protections to almost 250,000 acres, create two scenic areas and designate 159 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers. The third bill primarily would expand San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in the foothills near Los Angeles.
Opponents say that new designations would be unnecessary impediments to commercial development.
Josh Andujo of the group Nature For All is a member of the Gabrielino Tongva Tribe, which supports extra protections for their ancestral homeland.
"Our territory stretched from Malibu into Newport Beach, the Channel Islands into San Bernardino," Andujo said. "For us, we still hold our ceremonies up there. My family holds a ceremony that goes back 250 years, with our water ceremony."
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Vitali Mostovoj said he's concerned about the high suicide rate among veterans and first responders. He said he thinks access to more pristine public lands can help them cope.
"Getting people out in nature is very important," he said. "Going just to a campground by itself is not enough; you need to be out in the open, where you're alone, to be with nature as a whole. That is why our wilderness areas are so important to preserve."
The bills have strong bipartisan support and haven't attracted any organized opposition, although they do have some detractors among lawmakers who believe the government should privatize more public land.
Details of the Central Coast bill are online here, the Northwest California bill is here, and the San Gabriel bill is here.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ARLINGTON, Va. -- COVID-19 has exposed inequities in health care, and this year's Greater Washington Region Heart Walk aims to raise funds to close …
Health and Wellness
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Congress has an opportunity to help lower prescription-drug costs for Ohioans, who, along with other Americans pay roughly three …
BLOOMINGTON, IN -- Universities in Indiana are working to support Afghan students and scholars; both those still in Afghanistan and those arriving to …
ALBANY, N.Y. - Groups in support of renewable energy are pushing for legislation and other initiatives to accelerate complete electrification of …
BOISE, Idaho - Action on behalf of Northwest salmon could be in the works after announcements from the Biden administration, leaders in Washington …
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- After the first settlement of its kind in North Carolina capping limits on emissions from a biogas plant in Sampson County…
HILLSBORO, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently completed an investigation into a suburban Portland school for the misuse of toxic …
HELENA, Mont. - Republican lawmakers in Montana want to investigate the 2020 election. Some are concerned this could weaken trust in voting. In a …