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Bishop Secures Motion to Recommit

September 23, 2009
Op-Ed and Speech

Congressman Bishop Secures Motion to Recommit- protecting private property rights within the Santa Cruz National Heritage Act

The motion recommits H.R. 324, the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area Act sponsored by Rep. Grijalva (D – AZ) to the House Committee on Natural Resources with instructions that the committee report the bill back to the House floor forthwith (i.e. instantaneously) with an amendment that requires the consultation of the Secretary of Homeland Security in the approval or disapproval process for the management plan for the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area. 

Additionally, the MTR amends Section 9 of the bill to clarify that no private property shall be preserved, conserved, or promoted by any management plan until the owner has been notified in writing and has given written consent for the management authority to take action.  Private property owners will also have the option to remove their property from within the boundary by submitting a written request to the management entity.  The amendment seeks to rectify concerns that many designations of heritage areas can lead to restrictive federal zoning and land-use planning on how residential and commercial property owners utilize their private property without any notice or warning.

Finally, the MTR amends H.R. 324 to clarify that nothing in the Act should "impede, prohibit, or restrict" activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security to achieve "operational control" as defined under the Secure Fence Act of 2006.  Operational control is defined as "the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband."  This section of the MTR seeks to ensure the designation does not affect national security because the proposed site designation is located in the most heavily trafficked drug and human trafficking area along the border.