Natural Resources Committee Advances Bills to Protect Boundary Waters From Mining, Remove Confederate Monuments, Protect Public Lands

September 30, 2020
Press Release

Washington D.C. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) today led a Committee markup to advance 19 pieces of legislation, including key Natural Resources measures to protect federally recognized waters from dangerous mining, remove Confederate monuments from public lands, and support Indian Country. One bill provides federal recognition for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Bill texts, amendments, amendments in the nature of a substitute, and vote counts can be found at the House of Representatives Committee Repository as they become available at https://docs.house.gov/Committee/Calendar/ByEvent.aspx?EventID=111068.

Among the measures advanced today, the Committee approved Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-Minn.) bipartisan Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act (H.R. 5598). The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota is the most visited wilderness area in America, and the bill permanently protects the area from dangerous sulfide-ore copper mining.

The overwhelming majority of Minnesotans oppose mining near the Boundary Waters, and House Democrats strongly oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to open this area to mining. Last year, Chair Grijalva and Rep. Alan Lowenthal strongly condemned the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) decision to reinstate and renew two mining leases for a possible copper sulfide mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness in the face of scientific evidence, economic data, ongoing litigation and a public record of opposition dating back 50 years.

Among other public lands bills, the Committee approved H.R. 4840, Rep. Tom O’Hallaeran’s (D-Ariz.) Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Modification Act, and Chair Grijalva’s H.R. 7098, the Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion and Study Act. The Committee also passed Rep. Eleanor Norton’s (D-D.C.) bill to remove the Albert Pike statue near Judiciary Square in the District of Columbia (H.R. 4135) and Rep. Anthony Brown’s (D-Md.) Robert E. Lee Statue Removal Act (H.R. 970) to remove the monument to Robert E. Lee at Antietam National Battlefield.

The Committee approved Rep. G.K. Butterfield’s (D-N.C.) Lumbee Recognition Act (H.R. 1964) to provide federal recognition of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

“The Lumbee people have been fighting for full federal recognition for over a century,” said Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin, Jr. “We are excited and thankful to see H.R. 1964 pass out of the House Natural Resource Committee on a voice vote today. I am grateful to Chairman Grijalva for his friendship and his leadership. I believe strongly in the power of partnerships and collaboration. Today would not have happened without the collaboration among Chairman Grijalva, Chairman Gallego, and Congressman Butterfield. It’s a good day to be Lumbee.”

The Committee also approved Rep. McCollum’s Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act (H.R. 733) to transfer certain federal land in the State of Minnesota for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska)Indian Buffalo Management Act (H.R. 5153) to assist Tribal governments in the management of buffalo and buffalo habitat and for the reestablishment of buffalo on Indian lands; and Sen. John Hoeven’s (D-N.D.) Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act (S.212), a bill to amend the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000, the Buy Indian Act, and the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide industry and economic development opportunities to Indian communities. 

Bills Approved by the Committee

H.R. 244 (Rep. Stewart), To maximize land management efficiencies, promote land conservation, generate education funding, and for other purposes. Advancing Conservation and Education Act. 

H.R. 733 (Rep. McCollum), To provide for the transfer of certain Federal land in the State of Minnesota for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act.

H.R. 970 (Rep. A. Brown), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to develop a plan for the removal of the monument to Robert E. Lee at the Antietam National Battlefield, and for other purposes. Robert E. Lee Statue Removal Act.

H.R. 1248 (Rep. Pingree), To amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate certain river segments within the York watershed in the State of Maine as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes. York River Wild and Scenic River Act of 2019.

H.R. 1964 (Rep. Butterfield), To provide for the recognition of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and for other purposes. Lumbee Recognition Act.

H.R. 3225 (Rep. Mike 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 of 2019.

H.R. 3651 (Rep. Fortenberry), To facilitate the use of certain land in Nebraska for public outdoor recreational opportunities, and for other purposes.

H.R. 4135 (Rep. Norton), To direct the Secretary of the Interior to remove the statue to the memory and in honor of Albert Pike erected near Judiciary Square in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.

H.R. 4139 (Rep. Vela), To provide for the boundary of the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Park to be adjusted, to authorize the donation of land to the United States for addition to that historic park, and for other purposes.

H.R. 4840 (Rep. O’Halleran), To modify the boundary of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, and for other purposes. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Modification Act of 2019.

H.R. 5153 (Rep. Young), To assist Tribal governments in the management of buffalo and buffalo habitat and for the reestablishment of buffalo on Indian lands. Indian Buffalo Management Act.

H.R. 5458 (Rep. Neguse), To modify the boundary of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and for other purposes. Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary Modification Act.

H.R. 5459 (Rep. Neguse), To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to correct a land ownership error within the boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and for other purposes. Rocky Mountain National Park Ownership Correction Act.

H.R. 5472 (Rep. Sandford Bishop), To redesignate the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site as the "Jimmy Carter National Historical Park". Jimmy Carter National Historical Park Redesignation Act.

H.R. 5598 (Rep. McCollum), To provide for the protection of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and interconnected Federal lands and waters, including Voyageurs National Park, within the Rainy River Watershed in the State of Minnesota, and for other purposes. Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act.

H.R. 5852 (Rep. Himes), To redesignate the Weir Farm National Historic Site in the State of Connecticut as the "Weir Farm National Historical Park". Weir Farm National Historical Park Redesignation Act.

H.R. 7098 (Rep. Grijalva), To expand the boundary of Saguaro National Park, to study additional land for future adjustments to the boundary of the park, and for other purposes. Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion and Study Act of 2020.

H.R. 7099 (Rep. Grijalva), To provide for the conveyance of a small parcel of Coconino National Forest land in the State of Arizona.

S.212 (Sen. Hoeven), A bill to amend the Native American Business Development, Trade Promotion, and Tourism Act of 2000, the Buy Indian Act, and the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide industry and economic development opportunities to Indian communities. Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act of 2019.

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