February 23, 2021

As Chair of House Public Lands Subcommittee, Congressman Neguse to Usher Public Lands Package, including the CORE Act, through the House this Week

Washington, D.C. — This week, Congressman Joe Neguse, as newly elected Chair of the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will usher a public lands package through the U.S. House of Representatives. Included in the package, is the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or the CORE Act, bicameral legislation led by Congressman Neguse in the House and Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper in the Senate. The CORE Act would grow Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy and protect over 400,000 acres of public land across the state, establishing new wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas, and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities. The CORE Act is supported by a broad coalition of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor businesses. 

“I’m thrilled that we are able to bring the CORE Act to the House floor for a vote so early in the 117th Congress,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The CORE Act was crafted by Coloradans over the last decade, and has support from local communities, conservationists, ranchers and anglers throughout our state. Last Congress, we were able to pass this legislation out of the House twice, and with the support of Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper in the Senate, we look forward to getting it over the finish line this Congress.” 

“We’re thrilled that the House will vote on the CORE Act this week,” said Senator Bennet. “After a decade of work by Coloradans to craft the CORE Act, I’m grateful to Congressman Neguse and the entire delegation for their tireless work to move the bill through Congress and deliver for Colorado.”

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Background: 

Last Congress, Bennet and Neguse introduced the comprehensive CORE Act for the first time in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, following years of work on the ground in Colorado to develop, draft, and negotiate the four individual titles in the bill. In October 2019, Neguse secured passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. The CORE Act was later added to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, but it was not included in the final measure. In November 2020, Bennet secured a hearing on the bill in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and submitted written testimony in support of the bill. 

The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which have been in development over past decade: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act. 

Of the land protected by the bill, about 73,000 acres are designated as new wilderness, and nearly 80,000 acres are designated as new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind designation for Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape, to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy, and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen in the Thompson Divide.

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