After years of championing this legislation, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and U.S. Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK-2) yesterday applauded the Senate passage of H.R. 473, the Help to Access Land for the Education of Scouts (HALE) Act. Under this measure, it authorizes the U.S. Forest Service to sell, at fair-market value, 140 acres of land from the Ouachita Forest to the Indian Nations Council of Boy Scouts. H.R. 473 passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
"The Senate passage of H.R. 473 is a victory for the Boy Scouts of America," said Inhofe. "While the House of Representatives has repeatedly passed this measure, the HALE Act has always stalled in the Senate. Now, with yesterday's Senate passage, this legislation has finally passed a major hurdle. For years, Congressman Boren and I have worked together to assist this praiseworthy organization meet the demand of growing involvement. The HALE Act is an answer to the needs of Boy Scouts of America by allowing the U.S. Forest Service to sell acres of land from the Ouachita Forest to the Indian Nations Council. With this, the Boy Scouts camp will finally be able to grow and completely accommodate the training of additional youth leaders."
"After years of hard work on this issue, we are pleased that the HALE Act will go to the President's desk for signature," said Boren. "Camp Hale provides an opportunity for many young people to experience the outdoors, and has grown so much in recent years that attendance exceeds the maximum number of available campsites. The passage of this bill will provide the Boy Scouts with the additional acres and facilities necessary to accommodate more campers and allow a larger array of activities at the camp."
Bill Haines, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Nations Council, said, "The Indian Nations Council thanks Senator Inhofe and Congressman Boren for their hard work in passing this important legislation. For years, the Indian Nations Council worked with Congress and the Forest Service to pass legislation to allow thousands of additional scouts to attend camp in Oklahoma every year. Because of Senator Inhofe's and Congressman Boren's dedication to scouts and leadership opportunities, I am pleased that additional scouts may be able to attend camp this year. Thank you, Senator Inhofe and Congressman Boren!"
Inhofe and Boren first introduced this measure during the 110th Congress. Originally passed in the House of Representatives, the HALE Act never reached the Senate floor. During the 112th Congress, Inhofe and Boren reintroduced this measure in their respective chambers. Most recently, Inhofe and U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, urging her to report the HALE Act for full Senate consideration.