CORE Act gets nod from Biden, discussed in Haaland confirmation hearing | VailDaily.com
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CORE Act gets nod from Biden, discussed in Haaland confirmation hearing

Hickenlooper questions Interior Secretary nominee on public lands legislation

From left, Mike Greenwood, Sen. Michael Bennet and Craig Caulder tour Camp Hale in February of 2020 to promote the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, which would designate the former World War II-era military training camp in Eagle County as the first-ever National Historic Landscape
Chris Dillmann cdillmann@vaildaily.com

The White House released a statement on Tuesday expressing the new administration’s support of the Colorado Recreation Outdoor and Economy Act, a bill which would create new wilderness in the Vail area.

“The Administration calls for restoring balance to the management of our public lands and waters, creating jobs, confronting the ongoing decline of nature, and aligning the management of America’s public lands and waters with our nation’s climate, conservation, and clean energy goals. Because this legislation furthers those goals, the Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 803,” the statement reads.

“H.R. 803 combines eight separate measures that, among other things, permanently protect public lands and waters in Colorado, California, and Washington by designating approximately 1.5 million acres of wilderness and incorporating more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It contains provisions to create and maintain additional recreational access by authorizing new trails, services, and facilities.”



Camp Hale also received a salute from the White House in the memo from the Executive Office of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

“It designates Camp Hale as the Nation’s first National Historic Landscape to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy,” the statement reads.



Peak view

The CORE Act has been in the works for a decade and would protect over 400,000 acres of public land in the state while adding new wilderness to the existing Eagles Nest and Holy Cross wilderness areas in Eagle County.

In 2020, the CORE Act was introduced as an amendment to the House version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Joe Neguse, who represents Vail and portions of Eagle County in the House. The bill passed the House as an amendment to the House version of the 2021 NDAA, and received a hearing in a Senate subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, but was not included in the final version of the NDAA passed by the Senate.

At the confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary Nominee Deb Haaland on Tuesday, Colorado’s newly elected Senator John Hickenlooper asked Haaland if she supported the CORE Act.

“I was a conferee on the NDAA last year and I was disappointed that the CORE Act wasn’t included after all,” Haaland said.

Haaland’s hearing wrapped up on Wednesday. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American to hold a cabinet position.

“The Senate should act quickly to advance and approve Haaland’s historic nomination so she can get to work managing our parks and public lands on behalf of all Americans,” said Jennifer Rokala of the Denver-based Center for Western Priorities. “In detailing her lived experience and service in Congress, Haaland showed exactly why she is ready for the job.”

Complete statement

Here’s the statement on the CORE Act from the Executive Office of the President:

“The Administration calls for restoring balance to the management of our public lands and waters, creating jobs, confronting the ongoing decline of nature, and aligning the management of America’s public lands and waters with our nation’s climate, conservation, and clean energy goals. Because this legislation furthers those goals, the Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 803.

“H.R. 803 combines eight separate measures that, among other things, permanently protect public lands and waters in Colorado, California, and Washington by designating approximately 1.5 million acres of wilderness and incorporating more than 1,000 river miles into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It contains provisions to create and maintain additional recreational access by authorizing new trails, services, and facilities.

“The legislation contains provisions that protect important public lands, including public lands in Colorado, through community-supported land use designations that limit inappropriate development and maintain recreational access. It designates Camp Hale as the Nation’s first National Historic Landscape to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy. Furthermore, it provides permanent protection of more than 1 million acres around the Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims. The Grand Canyon is a majestic national treasure, drawing Americans from across the country to visit, and numerous Tribal Nations regard it as a sacred place.

“H.R. 803 puts in place protections for some of our nation’s most iconic natural and cultural resources and safeguards recreational opportunities for the benefit of current and future generations, while creating jobs and investing in the recreation economy. It is also consistent with the recommendation of scientists that, to safeguard the health and productivity of the natural systems upon which we all depend, the Nation must pursue a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and ocean by 2030. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on this legislation to ensure the best durable management of these special areas.”


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