Rep. Baca Supports Protections for Conservation Lands and Waters
Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) today joined a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 2016, the National Landscape Conservation System Act. The bill passed the House with a 278 - 140 vote. This legislation protects America's beauty and shared heritage by officially recognizing the already-functioning National Land Conservation System (NLCS) as part of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
"With the passage of this bipartisan legislation, Congress is taking important measures to protect our public lands system," said Rep. Baca. "The National Landscape Conservation System protects 26 million acres of America's most exceptional landscape. These lands deserve to be recognized and protected as the jewels they are."
The Secretary of the Interior established the NLCS in 2000 to protect 26 million acres of landscape within the BLM. Despite the support of both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the NLCS lacks the statutory recognition appropriate for a federal conservation system.
H.R. 2016 includes codifying language that would provide vital recognition for the NLCS, thereby acknowledging its importance to America's natural and cultural history. It would also enhance the System's stature within the Department of Interior, giving the 26 million acres of landscape the same recognition as our national parks and wildlife refuges.
"I am proud to support this responsible bill, which helps to ensure the heritage of our Western lands remains intact while at the same time not adding any new costs to the American taxpayer," concluded Rep. Baca. "We must continue to strive for a future in which our grandchildren and great grandchildren can enjoy the splendor of all our nation's landscapes."