|Friday, February 26, 2021|
Floor Schedule and Procedure:
Complete Consideration of H.R. 803 – Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (Rep. DeGette – Natural Resources)
This package combines eight different bills that take steps to conserve public lands and waters, protect communities from the effects of the climate crisis, and support the Biden Administration’s commitment to advancing environmental initiatives. The incorporated bills are:
All eight bills passed the House in the 116th Congress—six as part of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, and the Grand Canyon Protection Act (then the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act) and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act as standalone bills.
The bill designates approximately 1.5 million acres of public land as wilderness and incorporates over 1,200 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The bill also withdraws over 1.2 million acres of public land from new drilling and mining licenses.
Click here for bill text.
Click here for a one-pager from the Natural Resources Committee.
Click here for additional resources from the Natural Resources Committee.
The Rule makes in order 29 amendments and allows for amendments to be offered en bloc. A full list of amendments can be found here and below.
Adds the Outdoors for All Act to the bill, which codifies the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program. The ORLP program provides grants for outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income cities across the nation.
Encourages the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to ensure servicemembers and veterans have access to these public lands for outdoor recreation and wellness programs.
Requires a study, which will spend federal resources and could require hundreds of test wells to be drilled, to determine if any land withdrawn by this legislation contains geothermal resources or other mineral resources.
Adds the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act of 2021 to the bill, which withdraws certain land located in Curry County and Josephine County, Oregon, from all forms of entry, appropriation, or disposal under the public land laws, location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and operation under the mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws.
Adds the Rosie the Riveter National Historic Site Expansion Act to the bill, which marks a local historic site at the Nystrom Elementary School, as part of the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.
Makes a minor boundary adjustment of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area to include approximately 62 acres of adjacent publicly owned land encompassing: the decommissioned United States Army Reserve Center (now owned by the City of Rio Vista, CA); U.S. Coast Guard Station Rio Vista; Beach Drive Wastewater Treatment Plant (City of Rio Vista); and Sandy Beach County Park (Solano County, CA).
Gosar Amendment #7
Excludes lands in the 4th Congressional District of Arizona from the permanent mineral withdrawal under this Act, putting lands around the Grand Canyon at risk of new uranium mining.
Gosar Amendment #8
Delays the permanent mineral withdrawal under the Act until the Secretary of the Interior completes a costly, long-term mineral survey of proposed withdrawal area around the Grand Canyon and determines there are no mineral resources, geothermal resources, or critical minerals present other than uranium.
Strikes all “Potential Wilderness” designations in the bill, removing lands with exceptional wild and climate protective characteristics, which received this carefully crafted and flexible designation to protect ongoing redwood restoration, trail maintenance, and military training operations.
Extends the life of the Cape Cod National Seashore Advisory Commission, which Advises the Superintendent of the Seashore about the communities needs, until 2028.
Attempts to continue the use of transmission right-of-ways through some of our most pristine and wild landscapes, which were specifically identified by communities on the ground to protect their unique characteristics.
Adds the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Boundary Adjustment Study Act to the bill, which directs the Department of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the coastline and adjacent areas to the Santa Monica Bay from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance Beach, including the areas in and around Ballona Creek and Baldwin Hills and the San Pedro section of Los Angeles, excluding the Port of Los Angeles north of Crescent Avenue.
Adds the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area Act to the bill, which requires a study to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating areas within Virginia and North Carolina as a National Heritage Area.
Adds the National Heritage Area Act of 2021 to the bill, which establishes a system of national heritage areas (NHAs) and brings uniformity to the way NHAs are designated, managed, and assessed and provides Congress the ability to conduct oversight of the program.
Moore (UT) Amendment
States that no wilderness or potential wilderness designation under this Act shall be effective in any county where the county has not formally approved such designation, giving county commissioners an unprecedented and inappropriate veto authority over federal land management.
Newhouse Amendment #16
States that this Act shall not take effect until the Secretary of the Interior certifies that no renewable energy jobs have been loss as a result of this Act – an act which is specifically intended to protect some of the most unique and wild landscapes I the country, protecting clean water, clean air, and carbon sinks – while identifying no mechanisms to support renewable energy job creation.
Newhouse Amendment #17
States that nothing in this Act shall prohibit development of new dams and associated transmission lines and rights of way within the lands under this Act, potentially allowing for dams and transmission lines through Olympic National Park, the Grand Canyon, or other irreplaceable landscapes, protected under this act for their unique characteristics and climate benefits.
O’Halleran Amendment #18
Adds the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Modification Act of 2021, which modifies the boundary of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument by transferring approximately 11.21 acres to the Park Service and approximately 3.5 acres to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Allows the Secretary of the Interior to acquire certain lands from willing sellers, donors, or through exchange and enter into cooperative agreements with the State of Arizona for the cooperative management of certain lands.
O’Halleran Amendment #19
Adds the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Boundary Adjustment Act to the bill, which transfers approximately 97.7 acres from the Forest Service to the Sunset Crater National Monument. These lands include an NPS visitor, an NPS administrative facility, and a portion of the key access road to the Monument.
Stipulates that nothing in this Act may be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture under section 4(d)(1) of the Wilderness Act to manage for fire, insects, and diseases in wilderness areas designated.
Includes the York River in Maine in the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic River System.
Adds the St. Croix National Heritage Area Act to the bill, which designates a National Heritage Area for the island of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, pursuant to a congressionally-directed feasibility study completed by the National Park Service in September, 2010, and consistent with the procedures traditionally laid out for such heritage area site designations as last enacted in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.
Makes Wisconsin’s Ice Age National Scenic Trail a unit of the National Park System administered by the Secretary of the Interior.
Adds specified additional lands in the George Washington National Forest (a part of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky) to the Rough Mountain Wilderness and the Rich Hole Wilderness.
Stauber Amendment #25
Requires approval of local counties before mineral withdrawal can take place, giving county commissioners an unprecedented and inappropriate veto authority over federal land management.
Stauber Amendment #26
States that this Act shall not apply to any lands or waters in Colorado’s Third and Fifth Congressional Districts or any lands, waters, or minerals in Arizona’s Fourth Congressional District, ignoring the input of local communities and opening these lands to extraction, including lands around the Grand Canyon.
Stauber Amendment #27
States that this Act shall not apply to any lands or waters in Colorado’s Third Congressional District, ignoring twenty years of on the ground work and community input, and allowing one member to prevent the protection of publicly owned lands.
Incorporates the Environmental Justice in Recreational Permitting Act into the bill, which requires the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to complete an interagency report on the use of special recreation permits by recreation service providers serving environmental justice communities.
Allows the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of the Interior to exempt any wilderness or potential wilderness designated under this Act that does not meet the definition of wilderness, based on decades old and outdated studies, not updated to address climate or wildlife risks, and circumventing Congress’ sole authority to identify Wilderness, based on the input of local communities and stakeholders.
This bill delivers a robust and targeted response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing resources to crush the virus and support strong economic recovery. The package achieves the Biden Administration’s goals in tackling the public health and economic crises and combines provisions from nine House committees using budget reconciliation. The manager’s amendment will add provisions from an additional three committees.
This bill takes crucial steps to combat coronavirus by mounting a national vaccination program; scaling up testing and tracing; providing critical funding to treat and protect all Americans, including in communities of color; supporting the VA’s ability to meet the treatment needs of our nation’s veterans; and investing in the resources to safely reopen schools.
The American Rescue Plan also provides relief for working families and Americans hit hardest by the pandemic. This bill includes $1,400 per person in direct assistance to households in need, extends and expands unemployment insurance, increases the federal minimum wage to $15 phased in over five years, expands access to reliable childcare and affordable health care, and extends enhanced SNAP benefits. The bill provides Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grants, expanded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility, and critical resources to support frontline workers. The bill also provides funds to protect renters and homeowners and funding for enhancements to refundable tax credits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Click here for current bill text.
Click here for a messaging document from the House Budget Committee.
Section-by-section summaries from the Ways and Means, Education and Labor, Small Business, Veterans’ Affairs, Agriculture, and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees and a summary from the Oversight and Reform Committee.
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
Booker T. Washington