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U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse on Friday issued the following press release on House passage once again of the CORE Act, which includes the preservation of public lands in Eagle County. It will now be considered by the Senate this fall as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee, secured the passage of both the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). The provisions will protect 400,000 acres of land in Colorado, establish new recreation and conservation areas, and prevent mining efforts in the Grand Canyon.
“Countless Coloradans have contributed their voices to the creation of this bill, and it’s time for Washington to take notice. The CORE Act is key to ensuring that future Coloradans inherit a booming outdoor recreation economy and our treasured public lands, and I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure it finally crosses the finish line.” said Congressman Neguse.
“Once again, the House passed our CORE Act — a bill written for Coloradans, by Coloradans,” said Bennet. “Thanks to Congressman Neguse’s tireless work, the House has done its job and passed this bill not once, but five times. It’s past time for the Senate to do the same. Senator Hickenlooper and I continue to work on a path forward to get this done for Colorado.”
“Congressman Neguse, Senator Bennet and I are continuing our full-court press to get the CORE Act done and preserve Colorado’s public lands for everyone to enjoy,” said Senator Hickenlooper.
The CORE Act was crafted by Coloradans, for Coloradans. After decades-long conversations between a diverse range of stakeholders – including ranchers, sportsmen, small business owners, veterans, local elected officials, outdoor recreation organizations, and water and energy groups – Congressman Neguse and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet introduced the bill for the first time in 2019, and Senator John Hickenlooper joined the re-introduction of the bill in 2021. Following years of work on the ground in Colorado to develop, draft, and negotiate the four individual titles in the bill, Neguse secured the initial passage through the House of Representatives in October 2019. Since then Neguse advanced its passage as a stand-alone bill in February 2021, and as part of the NDAA in 2020 and 2021. The legislation has yet to be included in the final NDAA measure, but this inclusion will mark the 5th time Neguse has championed the passage of the CORE Act through the House of Representatives.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee had the first-ever committee vote on the CORE Act in May, allowing the Senate to proceed with consideration of the bill for final passage. The NDAA is often used as a vehicle for public lands legislation. The Senate will consider the bill later this year.
The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which were developed over the 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.
Read a comprehensive summary of the bill, here.