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VIDEO: Hickenlooper, Bennet Hail CORE Act’s First-Ever Senate Committee Vote

May 3, 2022

For video of Hickenlooper speaking in support of the bill before the committee vote, CLICK HERE

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today welcomed the Senate’s first-ever committee vote on the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. This is the first Senate vote on the bill in its decade-long history. Hickenlooper, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, spoke in favor of the bill at today’s markup.

“This vote is a new high water mark and I hope the final hurdle before it passes the Senate and becomes law,” Hickenlooper said at the committee markup. “Communities in these areas came together to write this bill from the ground up – literally! This is a model for collaboration.”

“The CORE Act was written for Coloradans, by Coloradans who’ve worked really hard to make sure it reflects local interests and local values,” said Bennet. “After over a decade of work, we’re now one step closer to passing this legislation to protect more than 400,000 acres of public land and support our state’s economy. Coloradans have waited a long time for this moment, and I look forward to getting the CORE Act over the finish line.”

The party-line vote allows the Senate to proceed with consideration of the bill for a final vote, which would then send it to President Biden to become law.

At the markup, Hickenlooper also pushed back on Senator Mike Lee’s amendment to remove the Thompson Divide provision from the bill. The Lee amendment failed.

“As a rancher who relies on the Thompson Divide for our summer grazing, I am hoping for the passage of the CORE Act. It will bring needed protection to this area which is so important to myself and fellow ranchers and also for the entire community, who utilizes these amazing lands for hunting and year-round recreation,” said Bill Fales, Cold Mountain Ranch, Thompson Divide. “The pandemic makes protection even more vital as our USFS lands are seeing unprecedented levels of use by the public. Senator Bennet and Congressmen Neguse have been fantastic in advancing this bill. Hopefully, with Senator Hickenlooper’s support we can finally give this area the protection it so richly deserves.”

“Gunnison County has worked for years on the Curecanti and Thompson Divide elements of the CORE Act. We have fought long and hard for the CORE Act because our constituents believe in these sensible public lands protections that are vital to our economy, our values and the enduring opportunity these lands will provide for future generations,” said Jonathan Houck, Gunnison County Commissioner. “For many years, we have worked with diverse stakeholders to develop sensible landscape scale protective measures that match our communities’ values and our desire to see these productive and pristine landscapes thoughtfully protected. We are thankful to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper for their leadership and persistence on the CORE Act.”

“The Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act is common sense legislation and we’re proud to support it,” said Janessa Goldbeck, USMC veteran and CEO of Vet Voice Foundation. “We’re specifically excited to work to see Camp Hale — a vital training area for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II — designated as the first National Historic Landscape. Veterans have long-played a role in protecting our nation’s public lands. It’s even more exciting to work on projects that will preserve places so closely tied to our military history. We’re ready to do our part to see the CORE Act become law.”

For more statements in support of the CORE Act, click HERE.

In January 2021, Hickenlooper, Bennet and Congressman Joe Neguse reintroduced the CORE Act. Hickenlooper is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the bill. The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives four times.

The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which have been in development over the past decade: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.

Of the land protected by the bill, 73,000 acres are designated as new wilderness, and nearly 80,000 acres are designated as new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind designation for Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape, to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy, and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen in the Thompson Divide.

The CORE Act is supported by Governor Jared Polis, the counties of San Miguel, Gunnison, Eagle, San Juan, Summit, Pitkin, and Ouray as well as the cities of Ouray, Crested Butte, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Telluride, Basalt, Breckenridge, Ophir, Ridgway, Mountain Village, Vail, Snowmass, Town of Frisco, and the Town of Dillon.

In addition the following organizations also support the bill: Conservation Colorado, NPCA, Conservation Alliance, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, International Mountain Biking Association, TRCP, National Wildlife Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Outdoor Industry Association, Wilderness Workshop, Trust for Public Land, American Whitewater, Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, The Wilderness Society, Roaring Fork Audubon, Roaring Fork Sierra Club, Solar Energy International, Carbondale Historical Society, Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association, and Great Old Broads for Wilderness.  

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