Public Lands Legislation Will Receive Hearing in Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources (ENR) Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining will hold a hearing on the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, Bennet’s bill to protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado and boost the state’s outdoor economy. The hearing is scheduled for November 18th, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. ET.
“Coloradans know that protecting our public lands and strengthening our economy go hand in hand. That’s why, after a decade of hard work and careful negotiation by local leaders to design the new protections in the bill, I introduced the CORE Act,” said Bennet. “I’m glad that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will finally hold a hearing on this bill. The CORE Act has already passed the House twice and we’ll continue our work in the Senate to pass the bill into law.”
“Eagle County is pleased that the CORE Act will finally have a hearing in the Senate. Our public lands define the American spirit, and continue to be a place where people go to gain strength and resiliency. The CORE Act will designate Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape and preserve important wildlife habitat prized by local hunters and anglers. We are hopeful that the locally-supported CORE Act passes the U.S. Senate so current and future generations can always have a place to go for reflection, growth, and adventure.” – Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner
“Gunnison County has worked for years on the Curecanti and Thompson Divide elements of the CORE Act. We have long awaited a hearing in the Senate and are encouraged to hear the time has come. We have fought long and hard for the CORE Act because our constituents believe it is these sensible public lands protections that are vital to our economy, our values and the enduring opportunity these lands will provide for future generations.” – Jonathan D. Houck, Gunnison County Commissioner
“Lasting change takes time. The CORE Act is preserving lands, communities and our cultural heritage and will enact lasting benefits for future generations. I want to thank our leaders including Senator Bennet and Congressman Neguse who have had the diligence and patience to see this to the finish line. A Senate Committee hearing is a welcome positive step forward.” –Hilary Cooper, San Miguel County Commissioner
In 2019, Bennet and 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 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.
The CORE Act 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 bill passed the full House of Representatives in October 2019 with bipartisan support, and again passed the House in July as an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In September, Bennet, Neguse, and Colorado 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 the CORE Act’s inclusion in the FY 2021 NDAA. In October, Bennet and Neguse urged the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate Armed Services Committees to include the CORE Act in the final FY 2021 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 final NDAA, in June, Bennet introduced the CORE Act as an amendment to the Great American Outdoors Act, 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 urged the Senate 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.