Washington, D.C. — Ahead of today’s Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining legislative hearing, which will consider multiple public lands bills in states like Montana, Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico, but none in Colorado, Bennet called again on the Senate to consider the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act.
The CORE Act—which would protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado and boost the state’s outdoor economy—has passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice and was referred to the Senate ENR Committee in January 2019. Today’s public lands hearing comes almost a year to the day since Bennet sent a letter to Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) requesting the Committee hold a hearing on the CORE Act.
“Over a year ago, I asked the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on the CORE Act—a bill with vast bipartisan local support across Colorado. That was before the bill passed the House—twice,” said Bennet. “As the Committee hears testimony on the public land priorities of states across the West today, the CORE Act is notably absent from the docket. It’s time for the Senate to do its job, recognize the years of hard work by Coloradans, and pass the CORE Act into law.”
In 2019, Bennet and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse introduced the bicameral CORE Act in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives with the support of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor industry businesses. The CORE Act combines four Colorado public lands proposals that were developed over a decade and builds on longstanding efforts to protect public lands in Colorado by establishing new wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas, including the first-ever National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale.
It quickly gained momentum in the House, with a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in April 2019, and later passed out of committee in June 2019. The CORE Act passed the full House of Representatives in October 2019 with bipartisan support.
In July, the CORE Act passed the House for a second time as an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Earlier this month, Bennet, Neguse, a member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, and U.S. Representative Jason Crow, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, convened a group of public lands leaders, veterans, and local elected officials at the Divide Trail in Colorado to advocate for inclusion of the CORE Act in the final FY 2021 NDAA, which is currently being negotiated in Congress.
The last Colorado wilderness bill signed into law was Bennet and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton’s Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, which passed in 2014 in the annual NDAA.
In August, Bennet and hunters and anglers from across the state highlighted victories in the CORE Act for hunting, fishing, and outdoor enthusiasts in the Gunnison River Basin. The groups also released an analysis explaining exactly what the CORE Act secures for hunters and anglers––including miles of blue-ribbon trout stream and elk habitat––and reaffirmed their support for the public lands bill.
Bennet has sought every opportunity to pass the bill in the Senate. In addition to his efforts to include the CORE Act in the Senate’s FY21 NDAA, in June, Bennet introduced the CORE Act as an amendment to the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which also included long-standing Bennet priorities to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and invest in our public land management agencies. In February 2019, Bennet pushed to include the CORE Act in the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which permanently reauthorized LWCF and included new protections for millions of acres of public land in other states across the West.
CORE Act House and Senate Bill text, a fact sheet, frequently asked questions, maps, letters of support, and more are available at www.bennet.senate.gov/COREAct.
CORE Act b-roll and other media resources are available HERE.