San Francisco Chronicle
Bill would increase protection for 1 million acres
America’s natural resources for generations to come,” Padilla said in a statement.
In February, the House passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, which expands land preservation and recreation opportunities across several states. Padilla’s bill, cosponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is limited to California. It’s dubbed the Public Lands Act, short for Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California.
The legislation would designate more than 300,000 acres of public lands in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties as “wilderness,” the most restrictive classification of federal land. It would create a 400mile long Condor National Scenic Trail in and around the Los Padres National Forest. It would increase the size of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by 109,000 acres and establish a national recreation area along the San Gabriel Valley foothills.
The proposal is likely to face at least some pushback in the Senate, notably from Republicans wary of limits the bill would put on commercial activities, such as logging, mining and ranching. The protections that are proposed, like in the House bill, pertain almost entirely to federal land and do not, for the most part, affect private holdings.
If the legislation is approved by the Senate, a big if given the Democrats’ razorthin majority, how the Senate bill and House bill are reconciled remains to be seen. Pieces of both could be included in a larger bill, perhaps on infrastructure or the budget.