Recently in Washington
Simpson Leads Bipartisan Parks and Public Lands Bill
Legislation would address the multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog in National Parks and other public lands
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress to introduce the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act. The bill would create a dedicated fund to address the $12 billion maintenance backlog in the National Parks (NPS) and multibillion-dollar backlog that exists at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). The proposal is consensus legislation that combines Congressman Simpson’s National Park Restoration Act and LAND ACT, and Congressman Will Hurd’s National Park Service Legacy Act.
“This is an exciting day for public lands and national park advocates,” said Simpson. “Growing up in Yellowstone’s backyard, I was afforded the opportunity to enjoy our nation’s first national park. That is why I feel it is important to pay it forward to future visitors that deserve the same quality experience as past generations. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders to advance legislation that will help restore our parks and public lands.”
Specifically, the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act would create a dedicated fund of money to fix the backlog maintenance at the NPS, USFWS, BLM, and BIE. The money would come from onshore and offshore energy revenues that are currently not obligated to other purposes. The bill is estimated to raise roughly $6.5 billion over the course of five years.
The legislation was introduced with over 50 bipartisan cosponsors and has bicameral support with a Senate version that was introduced in June. The legislation also has the support of President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ restore America’s parks campaign, and the Outdoor Industry Association.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3RD
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4TH
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 6439 – Biometric Identification Transnational Migration Alert Program Authorization Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul / Homeland Security Committee)
2) H.R. 6459 – TSA OPEN for Business Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bennie Thompson / Homeland Security Committee)
3) H.R. 6430 – Securing the Homeland Security Supply Chain Act of 2018 (Sponsored by Rep. Peter King / Homeland Security Committee)
4) H.R. 6443 – Advancing Cybersecurity Diagnostics and Mitigation Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Ratcliffe / Homeland Security Committee)
5) H.R. 5869 – Maritime Border Security Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon / Homeland Security Committee)
6) H.R. 6374 – FIT Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry / Homeland Security Committee)
7) H.R. 6438 – DHS Countering Unmanned Aircraft Systems Coordinator Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry / Homeland Security Committee)
8) H.R. 6447 – Department of Homeland Security Chief Data Officer Authorization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Carter / Homeland Security Committee)
9) H.R. 6265 – PreCheck is PreCheck Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Homeland Security Committee)
10) H.R. 6461 – TSA National Deployment Force Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman / Homeland Security Committee)
11) H.R. 6400 – United States Ports of Entry Threat and Operational Review Act (Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Lesko / Homeland Security Committee)
12) Concurring in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4318 – Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 6157, Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2019 and Democrat Motion to Instruct Conferees
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH
Legislation Considered Under Suspension of the Rules:
1) H.R. 4969 – Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2019, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul / Foreign Affairs Committee)
2) H.R. 5576 – Cyber Deterrence and Response Act of 2018, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Ted Yoho / Foreign Affairs Committee)
3) H.R. 5274 – Global Electoral Exchange Act (Sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro / Foreign Affairs Committee)
H.R. 1635 – Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie / Education and the Workforce Committee)
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH AND THE BALANCE OF THE WEEK
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes expected no later than 3:00 p.m.
H.R. 4606 – Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson / Energy and Commerce Committee)
H.R. 6691 – Community Security and Safety Act of 2018 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Karen Handel / Judiciary Committee)
Possible Consideration of Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 5895 – Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Mike Simpson / Appropriations Committee)
BY KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press
A final management plan is in place for one of three new central Idaho wilderness areas. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday signed the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness Plan.
The plan covers 183 square miles (474 square kilometers) and is described by federal officials as a middle-ground plan when it comes to restrictions on human visitors and activities.
"We believe we have a product that meets the intent of the Wilderness Act and legislation, while providing considerations to the well-being of individuals who use the area for their livelihoods," Chuck Mark, Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor, said in a statement.
The Idaho Conservation League said it's concerned the plan doesn't do enough to prevent pack goats from passing diseases to bighorn sheep. Another concern, the group said, is allowing too many people into sensitive high alpine and riparian areas.
"We're reviewing the wilderness plan as a whole and considering our next steps," said the group's central Idaho director, Dani Mazzotta.
The Forest Service and BLM have slightly different processes for approving the plan. The BLM process allows a 30-day appeal process. The Forest Service's decision is final and a challenge would require a federal lawsuit.
About 149 square miles (386 square kilometers) of the wilderness is managed by the Forest Service, and about 34 square miles (88 square kilometers) by the BLM.
The plan limits groups to 12 people, and the number of pack animals and saddle stock to 20 per group.
The proposed plan suggested recommending North American Packgoat Association guidelines, which includes precautions for preventing goats from passing diseases to Bighorn sheep.
Mazzotta said that made the goat guidelines voluntary, but that was changed in the final plan to make them mandatory. She said the group wanted goats banned from areas of the wilderness with bighorn habitat and where radio collar information indicates bighorns have visited.
President Barack Obama signed the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act in August 2015 after Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho got ranchers, recreationists and environmental groups to back the plan.
The legislation approving the wilderness areas allows continued livestock grazing where it existed before the wilderness designation.
The other two wilderness areas created are the 138-square-mile (357-square-kilometer) Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness and the 142-square-mile (368-square-kilometer) Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds Wilderness.
Those two wilderness areas fall mostly within the Forest Service's Sawtooth National Forest and Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Officials said those two wilderness areas will be managed under a single plan developed by the Sawtooth National Forest with help from the BLM. That final plan hasn't been released, but a proposed plan has been available for comment.
"We're definitely supportive of the Cecil D. Andrus White Clouds and Hemingway-Boulders plan as currently proposed," Mazzotta said.
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