April 11, 2019 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Wednesday introduced a package of legislation to restore and expand protections for California’s public lands. Together, the legislation proposes new public lands protections for more than 1 million acres of public lands, including nearly 600,000 acres of new wilderness and over 100,000 acres of new national monument. This legislation comes as the current administration continues its years-long campaign to undermine environmental protections and roll back rules protecting clean air and clean water.
“Under this administration, California’s beautiful public lands and its outdoor economy are under direct threat, and we must stand up against this active effort to chip away at vital environmental protections,” said Harris. “Restoring and expanding protections for our public lands means protecting Americans’ right to clean air and clean water and providing everybody the opportunity to explore and enjoy the outdoors.”
“California’s natural beauty – from mountain forests to tranquil deserts to coastal watersheds – has few rivals in the world, and we understand the value in protecting those iconic landscapes,” said Feinstein. “Our public lands package will protect more than 1 million acres of our state’s open spaces, bolster the surrounding economies and ensure Californians can continue to access and enjoy their public lands.”
The legislative package consists of three bills that were originally introduced in 2017 and 2018:
- The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, which is led in the House by Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02),
- The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which is led in the House by Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), and
- The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, which is led in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27).
The legislation would expand protections for public lands in key regions of Northern, Central, and Southern California. California boasts a $92 billion outdoor economy—the largest in the United States—that supports nearly 700,000 jobs.
“In California’s second district, we live among some of the most majestic public lands in the world,” said Rep. Huffman. “My legislation takes key steps to preserve these lands and manage them to their full potential, ensure fire resilience, support healthy wildlife, and grow the rural economy. With this bill, we are also engaging in a larger conversation on making our forests healthier, while ensuring that both ecosystems and rural economies are resilient. I’m grateful for Senator Harris for her dedication to our public lands and for spearheading this effort in the Senate.”