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Natural Resources Committee gears up for full week of hearings


State representatives welcome public to watch

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Natural Resources Committee is holding four livestreamed hearings next week to discuss public lands accessibility, wildlife trafficking and wildfire preparedness during climate change.

Tuesday, April 27, 12 p.m. EST

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, led by Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.), will host an oversight hearing titled Accessibility for People with Disabilities on National Parks and Public Lands.

People with disabilities can get a free, lifetime Access Pass for any parks or public lands that require an entry fee. But many of America's parks and public lands are still not fully accessible.

For the first Oversight & Investigations hearing of the 117th Congress, Chair Porter is hosting a panel of witnesses to share their experiences and discuss how parks and public lands can become more accessible for all Americans.

Witnesses include:

  • Julie Edmiston, Associate Executive Director, Wilderness Inquiry                         
  • Mike Passo, Executive Director, American Trails                                         
  • Amy Bowen, Veteran, U.S. Army, Iraq and Afghanistan                                         
  • Graham Hill, Former Member, National Council on Disability (minority witness)

This hearing can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.

Tuesday, April 27, 3 p.m. EST

The Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife, led by Chair Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), will host an oversight hearing titled Wildlife Trafficking and the Growing Online Marketplace.

Online wildlife trafficking is a problem that’s only getting worse. Online marketplaces and social media sites have made finding trafficked wildlife products easier than ever before.

The Committee will hear from experts on how to protect humans and wildlife from this dangerous trade and update wildlife trafficking laws to reflect the massive shift toward illegal online sales.

Witnesses include:

  • Stephen Guertin, Deputy Director for Policy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Gretchen Peters, Executive Director, The Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime
  • Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency
  • Danielle Kessler, Acting Director, United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare 
  • Catherine Semcer, Research Fellow, Property and Environment Research Center (Minority witness)

This hearing can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.

Wednesday, April 28, 12 p.m. EST

The full Committee, led by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), will hold a full committee markup on the following bills:

  • H.R. 443 (Rep. Young), To convey land in Anchorage, Alaska, to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and for other purposes. Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Land Transfer Act.                        
  • H.R. 1029 (Rep. Steube), To Waive the application fee for any special use permit for veterans' special events at war memorials on land administered by the National Park Service in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes. Free Veterans from Fees Act.
  • H.R. 1492 (Rep. DeGette), To prevent methane waste and pollution from oil and gas operations, and for other purposes. Methane Waste Prevention Act.                          
  • H.R. 1503 (Rep. Levin), To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to make certain adjustments in leasing on Federal lands for oil and gas drilling, and for other purposes. Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act.       
  • H.R. 1505 (Rep. Lowenthal), To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to make certain adjustments to the regulation of surface-disturbing activities and to protect taxpayers from unduly bearing the reclamation costs of oil and gas development, and for other purposes. Bonding Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act.            
  • H.R. 1506 (Rep. Lowenthal), To provide for the accurate reporting of fossil fuel extraction and emissions by entities with leases on public land, and for other purposes. Transparency in Energy Production Act.                       
  • H.R. 1517 (Rep. Porter), To amend the Mineral Leasing Act to make certain adjustments to the fiscal terms for fossil fuel development and to make other reforms to improve returns to taxpayers for the development of Federal energy resources, and for other purposes. Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act.                   
  • H.R. 1884 (Rep. Grijalva), To repeal section 3003 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, and for other purposes. Save Oak Flat Act.            
  • H.R. 2348 (Rep. Stewart), To maximize land management efficiencies, promote land conservation, generate education funding and for other purposes. Advancing Conservation and Education Act.

These bills would enact a series of critical reforms to oil and gas development on America’s public lands by reducing methane emissions, requiring public disclosure of impacts, increasing outdated royalties and fees, strengthening bonding requirements and mandating community input in leasing decisions.

The Committee will also consider Chair Grijalva’s Save Oak Flat Act to protect the Oak Flat area of Tonto National Forest from destructive mining proposals. Oak Flat, or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, is considered sacred by many tribal communities in Arizona. 

One of them, the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has resisted a years-long effort by Resolution Copper, owned by international mining conglomerates BHP and Rio Tinto, to mine the region.

This hearing can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.

Thursday, April 29, 1 p.m. EST

The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, led by Chair Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), will host an oversight hearing titled Wildfire in a Warming World: Opportunities to Improve Community Collaboration, Climate Resilience and Workforce Capacity.

Wildfires are projected to continue to increase in number, size and intensity.

Congress and the Biden administration have an opportunity to better incorporate climate change into federal land and wildfire policies by prioritizing funding for community collaboration and protection, protecting naturally resilient landscapes and investing to increase the capacity of the federal workforce to plan for and respond to wildfire.

Witnesses include:

  • Courtney Schultz, Associate Professor of Forest & Natural Resource Policy, Director of the Public Lands Policy Group at CSU, Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University
  • Beverly Law, Professor Emeritus, Global Change Biology & Terrestrial Systems Science, Oregon State University
  • Riva Duncan, Executive Secretary, Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, Fire Staff Officer, U.S. Forest Service, Umpqua National Forest (Retired)
  • Minority witness to be announced

This hearing can be watched on Facebook or YouTube.

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