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Public Statements

Conservation and Economic Growth Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chair, today's Conservation and Economic Growth Act is an amalgam of 14 separate public lands bills that have little to do with conservation or economic growth.

Indeed, while a few of the provisions--like Rep. Wittman's proposal to create an interagency cross-cut budget for Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts--have merit, many more run directly counter to sound natural resource management.

For example, under the guise of border control, Title 14 of today's bill would create a 100 mile zone along our borders with Canada and Mexico where over thirty of environmental laws--including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act--would not apply. There is no evidence that any of these laws are hindering border enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security is firmly opposed to this measure. Title 11 of this legislation would similarly undermine the National Environmental Protection Act while providing a windfall to those who graze livestock on federal lands by doubling the current term limits for grazing permits. And Title 3 of H.R. 2578 is essentially an earmark for a single corporation in the state of Alaska, which threatens both the local economy as well as the largest tracts of remaining old growth forest in the United States.

Mr. Chair, I support environmental conservation and meaningful steps to accelerate economic growth--which is why I will be opposing today's legislation.


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