WASHINGTON D.C. — House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) highlighted the inclusion of his Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion Act, along with landmark tribal water priorities, renewable energy wins, and Insular provisions as part of the Fiscal Year 2021, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 133) set to become law this week. H.R. 133 advances multiple tribal water rights settlements, including the largest water rights settlement in history between the federal government and a federally recognized tribe. H.R 133 would authorize and advance water rights settlements for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana, the Pueblos of Nambé, Pojoaque, Tesuque and San Ildefonso, the Navajo Nation, and the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas. 

Chair Grijalva also helped secure the inclusion of numerous other provisions to improve drought preparedness and water supply reliability for communities, economies, and habitats. The bills include investments in innovative research and technology initiatives, water-use efficiency projects, and watershed health activities to benefit fish, wildlife, and downstream communities. The Consolidated Appropriations Act also includes key provisions to provide additional nutrition assistance, broadband investments, and rental assistance to U.S. Territories as well as legislation to advance responsible development of wind, solar, and geothermal energy projects on public lands.

“We’ve worked hard to advance these bills to secure reliable water supplies for Indian Country and western communities, protect our lands, support U.S. Territories, and advance renewable energy. I’m glad to announce we’re set to get them signed into law,” Grijalva said. “Saguaro is already a popular destination for Arizonans and visitors from around the world, and this is an exciting opportunity to permanently protect open space and provide more recreational opportunities in such an important landscape. This expansion will benefit people and nature by increasing parkland in Southern Arizona, improving wildlife habitats, and connecting recreational trails all at the same time. We would not be here today without the community members who have worked with me to get to this point. This is a win for Arizona and the entire country. A big, year-end omnibus bill like this is not the ideal way to legislate but given that almost nothing moves in the Senate these days, this is what we have to do. There are pieces in this giant bill I don’t support, but overall, Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats made the best deal we could, and I am pleased that some of our priorities for Southern Arizona, and for public lands and water everywhere, are hitching a ride.”

Grijalva’s Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion Act (H.R. 7098) authorizes a boundary adjustment of Saguaro National Park in the State of Arizona. The House passed Grijalva’s Saguaro bill on Dec. 10, and he has made Saguaro National Park expansion a priority of his tenure at the Natural Resources Committee. The version included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 will increase the park by approximately 1,152 acres. A video message from Chair Grijalva on the passage of H.R. 7098 can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3a0crrq.

The parcels identified for inclusion in the park will protect biodiverse riparian areas, wildlife habitat, scenic views, and archaeological sites and create an important linkage between Saguaro National Park and Pima County’s Sweetwater Preserve. The parcels in question were identified for inclusion in the park based on their high conservation value, the immediate threat of sale, and significant local support.

The bill is supported by the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the Tucson Mountain Homeowners Association, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Trust for Public lands and many other conservation organizations. 

Among the other provisions set to be signed into law as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021,includes a slightly modified version of Chair Grijalva’s Murder Hornet Eradication Act that authorizes a pilot program at the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide assistance to states to eradicate the Asian giant hornet. Additionally, the bill establishes within the Smithsonian Institute the Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino. The Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on Rep. José Serrano’s (D-N.Y.) bill to establish the National Museum of the American Latino. This historic achievement will initiate the planning, including site location and design, development, and eventual construction of two new national museums in Washington, D.C.

Go to charkoost.com to see what’s included in the Natural Resources Sections in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

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