Chair Grijalva Applauds House Passage of a Dozen Natural Resources Bills

Washington D.C. – Today, Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) applauded the House passage of 12 bills within the Committee’s jurisdiction. Bills passed on the House floor include legislation to protect big cats, reauthorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, and strengthen access to health care for Urban Native Veterans. 

“This Committee is working to provide real solutions to challenges facing communities across the nation,” said Chair Grijalva. “These bipartisan bills represent the tireless work of many people across the country, and I’m grateful for the persistence of my House friends and colleagues in getting them across the finish line. We look forward to working with the Senate and seeing many of these bills become law in the near future.” 

Bills passed and headed to the President’s desk: 

S. 199 – Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act (Sen. Smith – Natural Resources) This bill directs the Department of Agriculture to transfer to the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to approximately 11,760 acres of identified federal land in the Chippewa National Forest in Cass County, Minnesota. Immediately upon transfer, the federal land shall be held in trust for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and considered as a part of its reservation.

S. 2981 – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Amendments Act of 2020 (Sen. Sullivan – Natural Resources) This bill reauthorizes the NOAA Corps Act of 2002 and provides authorities for more flexible management of grade distribution, appointments, and the overall fitness of the NOAA Corps. It also improves recruitment and retention of officers and increases parity with other uniformed services with respect to member service obligations and benefits. This bill also authorizes current and former NOAA Corps officers to apply for jobs within the Department of Commerce filled under merit hiring procedures, and improves procedures for addressing sexual harassment and assault at NOAA. Rep. Case (HI-1) is the lead sponsor of the House companion, H.R. 2406. 

Bills passed by House:

H.R. 1049 – National Heritage Area Act of 2020, as amended (Rep. Tonko – Natural Resources)

This bill establishes a National Heritage Areas System to bring the fifty-five existing National Heritage Areas (NHAs) into one cohesive system and standardize the process for establishing new NHAs. The System would provide a framework for studying, designating, evaluating, and funding NHAs while establishing a clear and consistent statutory framework for the National Park Service’s role in administering the National Heritage Area Program.

S. 914 – Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act of 2020, as amended (Sen. Wicker – Natural Resources)

This bill reauthorizes the Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (ICOOS) Act of 2009 through Fiscal Year 2025.  The Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) is a national-regional coordinated network implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that generates and disseminates continuous data models and services on coastal waters and the Great Lakes. The bill strengthens post-storm data sharing between NOAA and FEMA, and codifies the operations of the National Water Center. Rep. Young (AK-1) is the lead sponsor of the House companion, H.R. 1314.

S. 212 – Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2020, as amended (Sen. Hoeven – Natural Resources) This bill amends three federal laws relating to business, economic, and trade development in Indian communities. These amendments are intended to increase access to capital for Indian tribes and businesses, increase opportunities for Indian business promotion, and create mechanisms and tools to attract investments in Indian communities.

S. 1342 – Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Index Act of 2020, as amended (Sen. Peters – Natural Resources)

This bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to update at least once every seven years its environmental sensitivity index products for each coastal area of the Great Lakes. An environmental sensitivity index product is a map or similar tool that is utilized to identify sensitive shoreline resources prior to an oil spill event. Rep. Kildee (MI-5) is the lead sponsor of the House companion, H.R. 2551. 

H.R. 306 – Kettle Creek Battlefield Survey Act, as amended (Rep. Hice – Natural Resources)

This bill directs the National Park Service to conduct a reconnaissance survey of the site of the Kettle Creek Battlefield in Wilkes County, Georgia, and adjacent property. In conducting the survey, the Park Service will evaluate the national significance of the resources within the site boundary and identify the most appropriate and effective management options, including the possibility of national park or other federal designation.

H.R. 3682 – Land Grant-Mercedes Traditional Use Recognition and Consultation Act, as amended (Rep. Ray Lujan – Natural Resources)

This bill provides for greater consultation between the federal government and the governing bodies of land grants-mercedes and acequias in New Mexico and provides for a process for recognizing the historic-traditional boundaries of land grant-merced communities.

H.R. 4153 – Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act (Rep. Khanna – Natural Resources)

This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) to enter arrangements for the sharing of medical facilities and services with urban Indian organizations. The VA and DOD shall reimburse an urban Indian organization where services are provided to beneficiaries eligible for services from either department.

H.R. 7045 – To require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on lands that could be included in a National Forest in Hawai'i, and for other purposes (Rep. Case – Natural Resources)

This bill requires the Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, to conduct a study to identify lands in the State of Hawai’i that merit inclusion in the National Forest System. The study would also inventory how to best conserve and enhance Hawaii’s native koa, ‘?hi‘a and sandalwood forests to help lay the groundwork for the establishment of a new national forest.  

H.R. 8810 – National Landslide Preparedness Act, as amended (Rep. DelBene – Natural Resources)

This bill creates a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program to identify risks and reduce losses from landslide hazards and to improve emergency preparedness. The bill also authorizes the existing national 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to update and produce publicly accessible 3D elevation data for the U.S. 

H.R. 1380 – Big Cat Public Safety Act, as amended (Rep. Quigley – Natural Resources)

This bill amends the Lacey Act of 1981 to prohibit private ownership of big cats and to reduce public contact with big cats to improve public safety and conditions for big cats.

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