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Press Release

House Passes Legislation Advancing Access to Natural Resources, Insular Priorities and More

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Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed five House Committee on Natural Resources bills, including protecting an underwater forest off the coast of Alabama, reauthorizing programs that conserve the Long Island Sound, promoting self-determination for the people of American Samoa, and more. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"These bills are commonsense and forward-thinking solutions Americans in various parts of the country desperately need. Whether it’s supporting self-determination for our Pacific territories, conserving precious marine resources, or one of the other priorities we passed today, the House Committee on Natural Resources is committed to advancing thoughtful legislation that works for every American."


H.R. 897, the Alabama Underwater Forest National Marine Sanctuary and Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), designates an underwater forest off the coast of Gulf Shores, Ala., as a National Marine Sanctuary while enhancing vital industries that operate in the Gulf.

H.R. 5441, the Long Island Sound Restoration and Stewardship Reauthorization Act of 2023introduced by U.S. Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), reauthorizes the Long Island Sound Office and the funding programs of the Long Island Sound Stewardship Act of 2006 through Fiscal Year 2028 at current authorization levels. The Long Island Sound is a vital recreation and economic activity source for New York. 

H.R. 6062, introduced by U.S. Rep. Amata Radewagen (R-American Samoa), repeals Section 12 of Public Law 98-213 (48 U.S.C. § 1662a). The bill grants the president of the United States, through the Secretary of the Interior, the power to approve amendments to the Constitution of American Samoa without congressional approval. Of the U.S. territories with a constitution, American Samoa is currently the only territory that must go through Congress to institute changes to its constitution, even if the territory’s citizens have voted on them.

H.R. 5443, the Accelerating Appraisals and Conservation Efforts Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (D-Nev.), allows non-federal land appraisers who are appropriately credentialed in one state or territory to perform appraisal and valuation services on DOI’s behalf in any state or territory.

H.R. 5770, the Water Data Improvement Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), reauthorizes the Federal Priority Streamgage Program and the National Groundwater Resources Monitoring Program administered by the U.S. Geological Survey through fiscal year 2028 at existing funding levels.