Reps. Napolitano, Chu Renew Efforts to Protect San Gabriel Mountains
(Washington, DC) Today, Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) and Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, renewing efforts to protect the San Gabriel Mountains by designating the area as a national monument. Local area members, Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley), and Linda Sanchez (D-Cerritos), also joined the Congresswomen in support, stating:
“We are informed that meetings have taken place with homeowners associations, off-highway vehicle groups, several meetings with representatives from the water community and Southern California Edison, and meetings with elected officials from the local cities and counties. We appreciate these efforts and encourage the U.S. Forest Service to continue its outreach throughout the region.”
They continued, “We also urge the U.S. Forest Service to carefully consider the concerns of the wide range of stakeholders that we represent to protect and preserve rights, land uses, fire management capabilities, existing recreational opportunities, and other critical priorities for all stakeholders.”
Key Facts about National Monument designation:
· The Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests are owned and operated by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
· A national monument designation can only include federal land. It cannot include state, city, or private property. The Foothill cities will not and cannot be included in the designation.
· The designation allows the USFS to prioritize funding, creates eligibility to apply for grants, and establishes public-private partnerships. The Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests are currently set as budget items that must compete for funds.
· It will allow local residents, businesses, and cities to work directly with local officials to co-manage the land. Currently, local communities have no direct input in the Management Plan of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.
· This process is run and being led by President Obama with USFS.
The need for a national monument designation is an extension of ongoing conversations over the past decade on how to protect, preserve, and enhance the San Gabriel Mountains. The many public meetings, town halls—including the USFS town hall on August 26, 2014—and stakeholder roundtables over the last ten years have laid the foundation for today’s effort to achieve a national monument.
Efforts to protect the San Gabriel Mountains have always and will continue to be transparent. As discussions regarding a national monument designation continue, public input is critical. To share your views on the proposed monument designation, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/angeles/landmanagement/?cid=stelprd3815883&width=full.
Full text of the letter to Secretary Vilsack can be viewed here.
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