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The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents eastern Eagle County, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
The CORE Act, which would protect large swaths of Colorado public lands as wilderness, has already passed the House as a stand-alone piece of legislation. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, will now try to get a CORE Act amendment passed in the upper chamber. His office issued this press release on Tuesday:
Washington, D.C. – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act as an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is the second time the House has passed the CORE Act and taken a significant step toward protecting over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities, and boosting the state’s outdoor economy:
“The CORE Act was developed by Coloradans and, once again, the U.S. House of Representatives heard their voices loud and clear. For over a decade, communities across our state have worked together in an effort to protect public lands and secure outdoor recreation opportunities, which are vital to our state’s economy,” said Bennet. “Now, it’s up to the Senate to deliver, and the inclusion of the CORE Act in the NDAA provides a real opportunity to see this across the finish line. I’m grateful to Congressman Neguse for his leadership and tireless work to pass the CORE Act in the House, again. I will keep pushing for bipartisan support in the Senate so we can finally sign this longstanding Colorado priority into law.”
“It has been nearly 9 months since the House of Representatives passed my bill, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, and still the Senate has not taken the legislation up or brought it to Committee for consideration,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The CORE Act was carefully-crafted by Coloradans over the last decade and they deserve to see this bill—which would conserve treasured public lands in our state and make major investments in our outdoor recreation economy—considered by the Senate. The CORE Act would create the first-of-its-kind National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale to honor the 10th Mountain Army Division and the legacy of Sandy Treat, a local WWII veteran, with an overlook named in his honor. As a result, the bill’s inclusion in the NDAA makes perfect sense, and I am proud to see its passage out of the House today.”
In 2014, Bennet’s Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act with U.S. Representative Scott Tipton (R-CO-3), which protected more than 100,000 acres in the Hermosa Creek Watershed in SW Colorado, was signed into law as a part of the Fiscal Year 2015 NDAA.
The CORE Act, which combines four Colorado public lands proposals developed over a decade, 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 is the product of years of work by Colorado counties, businesses, recreation groups, sportsmen, and conservationists to hammer out compromises and develop a balanced, broadly supported public lands bill. Bennet and U.S. Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO-2) introduced the CORE Act in January 2019 with the support of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor industry businesses. It quickly gained momentum in the House, with a House Natural Resources Committee hearing in April, and later passed out of committee in June. The CORE Act passed the full House of Representatives in October with bipartisan support.
Prior to House passage, in September 2019, Bennet sent a letter to Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) requesting the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hold a hearing on the CORE Act. However, no further action has been taken. The bill awaits further consideration in the Senate.
Bennet has sought every opportunity to pass the bill in the Senate. Earlier this month, Bennet introduced the CORE Act as an amendment to the Senate version of the 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.