Congressmen Devin Nunes (CA-21), Kevin McCarthy (CA-22), Tom McClintock (CA-04) and Jeff Denham (CA-19) today announced that the House has passed a bill that would restore access to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for backcountry horsemen. (bill text)
Commercial permits necessary for the operation of the region's pack stations have been suspended due to a lawsuit by a radical environmental group, the High Sierra Hikers Association, which opposes horse and mule access to the parks. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Backcountry Access Act will require the Parks Service to issue commercial permits for the next two years while changes are made to the permitting process to comply with a federal court ruling.
"I was highly disappointed by the Park Service's refusal to work with the federal court on an agreement to issue permits in time for the current season. Officials opted to wait until a new process was established and approved by the court instead of seeking an interim solution," said Rep. Devin Nunes. "This legislation will allow commercial pack operations to continue in the parks while changes are made to the permitting process to comply with the court's decision. It is now up to California's Senators to quickly act on the bill. There are hundreds of jobs at stake."
"This Administration's refusal to work towards a solution on this issue is the latest example of this Administration's war on Western jobs. I commend the House for taking swift action today on legislation I cosponsored to help preserve hundreds of jobs in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Passage of this bill will ensure that the public can continue to access and enjoy public lands and national treasures. I call on the Senate to take this bill up immediately and join House Republicans in working to save jobs in our local communities and preserve access to public lands," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
"At a time when unemployment in California remains well above the national average, we are working to keep hundreds of hard-working families in business while adjustments are being made to comply with new wilderness requirements. It's imperative that we take swift action to protect the jobs of our backcountry horsemen and preserve access to our public lands," said Rep. Jeff Denham.
The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Backcountry Access Act was introduced by Congressman Nunes last evening. Chairman Hastings and the bi-partisan House leadership agreed that the temporary measure was worthy of special treatment and swift action. It was expedited through a unanimous consent agreement for consideration by the full House in less than 24 hours and is currently being transmitted to the Senate.