Sen. Alex Padilla moves to protect 1 million acres of California land

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla introduced legislation Monday, May 3, that would protect and improve access to 1 million acres of land and 500 miles of rivers across the state, including more than 139,000 acres and 45 miles of wild and scenic rivers in Southern California.

“Simply put, this is a big deal,” Wade Crowfoot, state secretary of California Natural Resources, said at a news conference Monday at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale. “These natural places provide us inspiration, recreation and protection.”

Padilla, the newly installed senator, filling the seat previously held by Vice President Kamala Harris, is championing his first environmental bill that is similar to a larger conservation bill passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 26. Padilla, who is optimistic his bill will be adopted by the Senate, said it addresses the urgent need for recreation that has grown exponentially during the coronavirus pandemic, especially for park-poor communities.

Gabrieleno Tribe Chief Anthony Morales, right, and son, Andrew, stand together after conducting an opening sage blessing ceremony during the announcement of a bill into the U.S. Senate that would protect over 1 million acres of public lands in California at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale on Monday, May 3, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

As the San Gabriel Mountains provide a scenic backdrop, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla speaks about a land perseveration bill during a press conference at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale on Monday, May 3, 2021. The bill will protect over 1 million acres of public lands in California. It includes an expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument as well as protection of foothills, the San Gabriel River and parts of the Puente-Chino Hills. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Gabrieleno tribe member Andrew Morales, right, conducts an opening sage blessing ceremony as Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif., left, and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla look on during the announcement of a bill into the U.S. Senate that would protect over 1 million acres of public lands in California at Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area in Irwindale on Monday, May 3, 2021. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

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“California public lands are exactly that: They belong to the public. Too many children, especially those of color, live in nature-deprived communities. In fact, Los Angeles County has one of the lowest rates of park access,” said Padilla, speaking Monday with the San Gabriel Mountains behind him.

Padilla’s bill incorporates the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, authored by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena. Under this provision, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument established by President Barack Obama in 2014 will be expanded by 109,143 acres, going from 346,177 acres to 455,320 acres, to include front-facing portions of the Angeles National Forest located north of Pasadena, Sierra Madre and Arcadia and into the forest’s western edge near Santa Clarita.

For the past several years, that effort was stalled and the monument …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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