House of Representatives Passes Congressman Huffman’s First Bill
WASHINGTON—The United States House of Representatives voted today to pass the first bill introduced by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act of 2013 (H.R. 1411). Huffman’s bill expands the California Coastal National Monument by 1,255 acres through the addition of Mendocino’s Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.
“I’m thrilled that the House has agreed to protect this jewel of the North Coast for future generations,” said Huffman. “This is a spectacular stretch of coastline, and it deserves the highest level of protection we can provide. By bringing this land into the National Monument system, we will provide an accessible way for visitors to see all that the Mendocino coast has to offer.”
“The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are a national treasure and the House of Representatives is right to protect it,” said Thompson. “We need to keep working and make sure the Senate passes legislation that preserves this wonderful stretch of coastline for our children and grandchildren.”
It is very rare for a freshman member in the minority party in the House to have their first bill as a Congressman passed by the House—only five other freshmen House Democrats have passed a bill in the 113th Congress, and Huffman is one of the first freshman of either party to have a land conservation bill approved in the 113th Congress. Today’s vote follows a House Natural Resources Committee vote on Congressman Huffman’s bill on June 12, 2013.
The bill would add 10 miles to the California Coastal Trail and includes other natural jewels such as the Garcia Estuary and two miles of the Garcia River, a critical habitat for salmon and steelhead. The land includes habitat for endangered species, and the designation keeps the current recreational, ranching, and research uses of the land.
Huffman was joined by original cosponsor Congressman Mike Thompson, who previously represented this area of California’s northern coastline in Congress. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Huffman’s bill is supported by Point Arena Mayor Lloyd Cross, the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, Visit Mendocino County, Inc., the Manchester-Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians, the Sierra Club, the Trust for Public Land, Mendocino Land Trust, Redwood Coast Conservancy, the Conservation Lands Foundation, the Wilderness Society, the Northcoast Environmental Center, Environment California, local business and civic leaders, and the local community.