Rep. Maloney Votes to Pass H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act

Feb 26, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) voted to pass H.R. 803, the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, a legislative package providing lasting protections for key public lands and waters in Arizona, Colorado, California, and Washington State. This bill designates approximately 1.49 million acres of public lands and wilderness and incorporates more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System (NWSRS). The legislation would also protect more than 1.2 million acres of public land from being considered for new oil and gas and mining claims.

 

“Protecting our environment is not a matter of choice, but the only path forward for our nation and our way of life,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “We have already seen the deadly and devastating effects of climate change – from Super Storm Sandy to an unprecedented, deadly snowstorm that just blanketed Texas causing widespread blackouts, flooding, and dangerous conditions.  We must leave this planet a better place for our children and grandchildren. The Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act helps us reach that goal.”

 

Communities across the country are already feeling the impacts of climate change, with frontline communities, those that experience the ‘first and worst’ consequences of climate change, bearing a disproportionate share of the environmental and economic fallout. Only Congress can permanently protect public lands by declaring them as designated wilderness areas. These designations will help to further the Biden Administration’s renewed focus on advancing environmental justice by improving access to clean water, clean air, and healthy outdoor recreation, while supporting local economies and historically underserved communities.

 

Background

 

The Bills Included in the H.R. 803 Legislative Package:

 

  • Title I includes the text of the Colorado Wilderness Act (H.R. 803 - Rep. DeGette, D-CO) which would designate approximately 660,000 acres of public land as wilderness including many of Colorado’s mid-elevation ecosystems that serve as critical habitats for a variety of plants and wildlife.
  • Title II includes the text of the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (H.R. 878 - Rep. Huffman, D-CA) which would designate approximately 306,500 acres of public land as wilderness, protect approximately 480 river miles as components of the NWSRS, and support Northern California’s economy through improved wildfire resiliency and expanded recreational opportunities.
  • Title III includes the text of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (H.R. 999 - Rep. Kilmer, D-WA) which would designate approximately 131,900 acres of public land as wilderness and protect 458 river miles as components of the NWSRS.
  • Title IV includes the text of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 973 - Rep. Carbajal, D-CA) which would designate approximately 287,500 acres of public land as wilderness, protect 230 river miles as components of the NWSRS, and connect coastal communities with the designation of a new trail.
  • Title V includes the text of the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (H.R. 693 - Rep. Chu, D-CA) which would expand the existing San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by 109,000 acres, establish a new recreation area, designate approximately 30,700 acres of public land as wilderness and protect 45 river miles as components of the NWSRS.
  • Title VI includes the text of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act (H.R. 1075 - Rep. Schiff, D-CA) which would expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by approximately 191,000 acres, protecting important natural and cultural resources while expanding outdoor access for one of America's most densely populated cities.
  • Title VII includes the text of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act (H.R. 577 – Rep. Neguse, D-CO) which would permanently protect approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado through an assortment of locally driven designation intended to support the state’s multi-billion-dollar recreation economy.
  • Title VIII includes the text of the Grand Canyon Protection Act (H.R. 1052 – Rep. Grijalva, D-AZ) which would permanently ban new mining claims on approximately 1 million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park, while helping to protect the clean water resources critical to the livelihoods of local tribal communities.

The text of H.R. 803 can be found here.

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