H.R. 496, Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act

H.R. 496

Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act

Sponsor
Rep. Paul Cook

Date
May 23, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Robert Goad

Floor Situation

On Monday, May 23, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 496, the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Establishment Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 496 was introduced on January 22, 2015 by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), and was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by unanimous consent on March 16, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 496 establishes the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area, comprised of approximately 18,610 acres of federal land in Inyo County, California and directs the Department of the Interior to manage the area as a component of the National Landscape Conservation System.

The bill also directs Interior to take approximately 132 acres of federal land into trust for the benefit of the Lone-Pine Paiute Shoshone Tribe, excluding a specified right-of-way granted to the City of Los Angeles and prohibits gaming on such land.

In addition, H.R. 496 Transfers administrative jurisdiction of approximately 56 acres of specified federal land from the U.S. Forest Service to the Bureau of Land Management.

 

Background

The Alabama Hills are a range of hills and rock formations near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley in central California. The area is home to a variety of recreational activities and served as a popular filming location for both television shows and films and several television shows were filmed in the area, including the Gene Autry Show, Lone Ranger, and Bonanza.[1]

The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group was established to promote the long term vision, conservation, use, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Alabama Hills area.[2] Inyo County, the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, the Lone-Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, local business owners, and other key stakeholders have all worked with the Stewardship Group.[3] With the goal of protecting the area from the industrial-scale renewable energy development that is occurring in surrounding areas, while also protecting existing uses, the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, as well as off-road groups, the local chamber of commerce, and many others, coordinated for the last two years to share ideas that ultimately formed the basis of H.R. 496.[4]

The bill restricts the development of large-scale industrial projects such as renewable energy generation, and preserves all existing recreational and commercial uses of the Alabama Hills. Additionally, existing grazing activities would be allowed to continue within the National Scenic Area.

According to the bill’s sponsor, “The Alabama Hills are a natural treasure, and I’m excited to introduce this bill to help guarantee our children and grandchildren can enjoy them the same way we do. The level of local input has been incredible and should serve as an example for how land use decisions are made.”[5]

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[1] See Committee on Natural Resources Markup Memo
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] See Congressman Cook’s Newsletter: January 27, 2015

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office estimates enacting H.R. 496 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Robert Goad with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1831.