House Approves Huffman Bill on Sustainable Management of the Point Reyes National Seashore
WASHINGTON, D.C. —The United States House of Representatives voted today to pass a bill authored by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) regarding management of the Point Reyes National Seashore and the historic working ranches and dairies that are part of the seashore’s unique historic, cultural, scenic and natural values.
Rep. Huffman’s bill clarifies Congress’ longstanding intent and keeps faith with former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s promise in 2012 that the historic ranches and dairies would finally be offered long-term permits so that they could have the certainty and clarity they need to obtain financing, and make family succession plans and other decisions necessary to continue their operations. After today’s House approval, the bill will move to the Senate for further consideration.
“H.R. 6687 is narrowly tailored to help ensure that sustainable ranches and dairies continue as part of the fabric of our spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore for generations to come,” said Rep. Huffman. “The bill does this without compromising any environmental standards and is consistent with long-standing Congressional intent, with Secretary Salazar’s 2012 policy directive, and with the current NPS planning process. I’m proud that this bill has been a refreshing bipartisan effort here in Congress.”
- Clarifies that the term “agricultural property” used in amendments to the Point Reyes National Seashore enabling act also includes certain ranches in the northern portions of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area which have long been managed by Seashore personnel under Park Service policy;
- Directs the Secretary of the Interior to manage agricultural properties consistent with Congress’ longstanding intent that working ranches and dairies continue to be authorized to operate on agricultural property within the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area;
- Provides direction for effective management of Tule Elk to minimize conflicts with dairies and ranches, and authorizes the Secretary to consider partnerships with Native American Tribes interested in relocation or cultural ceremonial activities. The bill does not call for the elimination of elk in the Seashore, and the Secretary retains broad discretion to decide how to manage for separation in areas of conflict; and
- Directs the Secretary to complete the park’s general management plan update, including National Environmental Policy Act review, and authorizes issuance of leases or special use permits of 20 years, consistent with the Act’s purposes. This does not impact the General Management Plan update that is currently underway, which must include compliance with the Endangered Species Act and any other environmental reviews, with full participation and input by the public. This public process will inform critical policy and operational decisions by the Park Service, including specific elk management actions and the terms and conditions that apply to leases/permits on agricultural properties.
A one-pager on the bill with answers to freqently asked questions can be found here.
You can watch Rep. Huffman's full floor speech on the bill here and below: