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The most recent attempt to pass the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act has made it out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and will advance to the floor of the Senate. The bill, introduced by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, would add more than 119,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Companion legislation introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) was passed by the House of Representatives in February.
If approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, the legislation would give the park service the authority to add more than 191,000 acres in the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
Previous attempts to pass the bill in 2017, 2018, and 2020 were scuppered by the Republican majority in Congress. The opposition was led by Utah Representative Bob Bishop, who was also responsible for the push to eliminate Bears Ear National Monument in his home state.
This may be the best and only chance to pass the bill, while a pro-environment Democratic majority holds the balance of power. The push for preserving open space has received a boost from Biden, who is an advocate for the 30 x 30 initiative, a worldwide initiative for governments to protect 30 percent of Earth’s undeveloped land and ocean area by 2030.
“Meaningfully addressing the climate crisis includes protecting our natural spaces at all costs,” said Senator Padilla. “Preserving the Rim of the Valley Corridor is critical to helping California and the nation meet our goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, and I’m glad to see that our bill to protect this area’s natural resources and diverse wildlife is advancing in the Senate. I will continue to fight for additional conservation measures to advance in the Senate, like my PUBLIC Lands Act, which would expand protections for over one million more acres of California’s public lands.”
“The Rim of the Valley Corridor is an area of breathtaking natural beauty, cherished by millions of residents in the Los Angeles Basin and the millions more who visit each year. Home to beloved trails and outdoor recreation areas, diverse ecosystems, and famous wildlife, it has been my mission for nearly 20 years to protect and preserve this Southern California jewel,” said Schiff. “I am thrilled by the encouraging progress the Senate has made today, and look forward to a vote by the full chamber soon so we ensure future generations can continue to enjoy all this special place has to offer.”
The proposed expansion is based on a six-year study of the region completed by the National Park Service in 2015. It would allow NPS and the local community to work together to better protect natural resources and habitat in the corridor and improve access for recreational and educational purposes.
The legislation gives NPS the authority to:
- —Add more than 119,000 acres of the Rim of the Valley Corridor to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
- —Implement capital improvements, including new trails, roads, and public facilities.
- — Monitor and study wildlife and ecosystems.
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