05.16.18

Schiff, Knight Request Natural Resources Committee Schedule Hearing for Bipartisan Legislation to Preserve the Rim of the Valley

Washington, DC – Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA28) and Steve Knight (R-CA25) sent a letter to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop and Ranking Member Raul Grijalva urging the Committee to schedule a hearing on the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act (H.R. 4086). This bipartisan legislation would add more than 191,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). The Rim of the Valley stretches from the Simi Hills and Santa Susanas to the Verdugos and on to the San Gabriel Mountains.

In the letter, Schiff and Knight write:

“We respectfully request that the House Natural Resources Committee hold a hearing to consider H.R. 4086, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. This bipartisan bill enjoys broad support from local leaders and landowners throughout the Los Angeles region and would preserve open space in one of the densest metropolitan regions in the nation… Los Angeles County is a park-poor region with 51% of residents living more than half a mile to the nearest park. That’s why we must take steps to increase access. Preservation of, and access to, open space in our communities is not only good for our environment and ecosystems, but it is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva:

We respectfully request that the House Natural Resources Committee hold a hearing to consider H.R. 4086, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act. This bipartisan bill enjoys broad support from local leaders and landowners throughout the Los Angeles region and would preserve open space in one of the densest metropolitan regions in the nation.

Efforts to protect the Rim of the Valley began in the early 2000s at the request of Southern California residents. In 2008, President Bush signed a bill into law that directed the National Park Service to conduct a special resource study to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating all or a portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and study how these areas could be properly protected and utilized by the local communities. This study began in 2010, and the National Park Service transmitted its final report to Congress in February 2016.

H.R. 4086 and its accompanying map was drafted based on the recommendations from the Park Service as well as input from the local community and interested stakeholders. Its goal is to enable local landowners, local governments, and interested stakeholders to better utilize federal resources to preserve this beautiful ecosystem for generations to come, as well as improve access to nature for recreational and educational purposes. By expanding the National Recreation Area, the National Park Service will have the authority to implement capital improvements, like repairing hiking trails and maintaining facilities for public enjoyment, study wildlife and its habitats, and participate in cooperative conservation with local landowners. The Park Service will also be able to accept land donations or purchase land from willing sellers within the boundary if the Secretary deems it appropriate. The expansion will respect private property rights and existing local land use authorities.

Los Angeles County is a park-poor region with 51% of residents living more than half a mile to the nearest park. That’s why we must take steps to increase access. Preservation of, and access to, open space in our communities is not only good for our environment and ecosystems, but it is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of our residents.

The legislation is cosponsored by every Member in the vicinity of the Rim of the Valley whose districts are affected, including Julia Brownley, Judy Chu, Tony Cardenas, Brad Sherman, Ted Lieu, and Jimmy Gomez. We have also attached letters of support from elected officials at both the state and local levels.

We, therefore, request that the House Natural Resources Committee schedule a hearing on H.R. 4086.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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