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Colorado Democrats on Tuesday issued a slew of press releases on support for public lands protection legislation, including the local Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or CORE Act. First, from U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose district includes part of Eagle County. Then two from Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper:
Washington, D.C. — This week, Congressman Joe Neguse, as newly elected Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will usher a public lands package through the U.S. House of Representatives. Included in the package, is the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or the CORE Act, bicameral legislation led by Congressman Neguse in the House and Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper in the Senate. The CORE Act would grow Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy and protect over 400,000 acres of public land across the state, establishing new wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas, and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities. The CORE Act is supported by a broad coalition of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor businesses.
“I’m thrilled that we are able to bring the CORE Act to the House floor for a vote so early in the 117th Congress,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The CORE Act was crafted by Coloradans over the last decade, and has support from local communities, conservationists, ranchers and anglers throughout our state. Last Congress, we were able to pass this legislation out of the House twice, and with the support of Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper in the Senate, we look forward to getting it over the finish line this Congress.”
“We’re thrilled that the House will vote on the CORE Act this week,” said Senator Bennet. “After a decade of work by Coloradans to craft the CORE Act, I’m grateful to Congressman Neguse and the entire delegation for their tireless work to move the bill through Congress and deliver for Colorado.”
Last Congress, Bennet and Neguse introduced the comprehensive CORE Act for the first time in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, following years of work on the ground in Colorado to develop, draft, and negotiate the four individual titles in the bill. In October 2019, Neguse secured passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The CORE Act was later added to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, but it was not included in the final measure. In November 2020, Bennet secured a hearing on the bill in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and submitted written testimony in support of the bill.
The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which have been in development over past decade: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
Of the land protected by the bill, about 73,000 acres are designated as new wilderness, and nearly 80,000 acres are designated as new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind designation for Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape, to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy, and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen in the Thompson Divide.
Bennet Welcomes Biden Administration Endorsement of CORE Act
Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement after Interior Nominee Deb Haaland made clear that the Biden Administration supports the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources:
“President Biden and Interior Nominee Haaland heard Coloradans loud and clear, and I’m thrilled to welcome the administration’s endorsement of the CORE Act. This legislation was written over the course of a decade by county commissioners, businesses, and outdoor advocates in communities across our state. With the support of this administration and a House vote on the CORE Act on the horizon, we’re a step closer to recognizing the years of work that went into this bill and protecting our public lands for future generations.”
Bennet’s legislation with U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper and U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse would protect over 400,000 acres of public land and strengthen our economy in Colorado. Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Neguse reintroduced the CORE Act earlier this month, and the bill is slated to receive a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives later this week.
Hickenlooper Secures Haaland’s Support for CORE Act, Commitment to Visit Colorado & Review Maintaining BLM HQ Out West
Washington, D.C. — During the confirmation hearing today for Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Department of the Interior, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper secured the Biden Administration’s endorsement of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, a bill with bipartisan local support that would protect 400,000 acres of Colorado public lands. It is the first time the Biden Administration has expressed public support for the bill.
“President Biden supports a strong outdoor economy… and the Administration also endorses the bill,” Haaland said during questioning by Hickenlooper.
“The CORE Act represents a historic effort to protect public lands — it is key to helping ensure Coloradans inherit both a thriving outdoor recreation economy and pristine outdoor spaces,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re thrilled to have President Biden’s support for this crucial, homegrown bill.”
Hickenlooper, a member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is a cosponsor of Senator Michael Bennet’s and Congressman Joe Neguse’s CORE Act which is on track to pass the U.S. House of Representatives for the third time this week. Hickenlooper noted that the previous administration, which threatened to veto the bill, “misrepresented the facts on the ground in Colorado” by falsely claiming the bill would close access to motorized recreation.
During the hearing, Hickenlooper also secured Haaland’s commitment to visit Colorado and keep an open dialogue about maintaining the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters in Grand Junction.
“I’ll absolutely keep an open dialogue,” Haaland said in response to Hickenlooper’s questioning on the BLM move. “And if you’re inviting me to Colorado I gracefully accept.”
“I’ve seen broad bipartisan support for a headquarters office to remain in the West,” Hickenlooper said. “The last administration I don’t think managed the move properly — it was perceived as an attack on the BLM and trying to reduce its capabilities… I hope there’s a path forward where we find a solution that restores a fully functioning agency while allowing BLM staff to work close to the lands they manage.”
Watch the full exchange on the BLM HERE.
Watch the full exchange on the CORE Act HERE.