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Congress to take testimony on multiple public lands bills

Cases for all sorts of federal land policy will be getting made on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Hearings in both the House and the Senate will cover multiple pending bills, it was announced in the Congressional Record of Monday, July 21, 2014, which became available online on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. The hearings are open to the public, though only invited witnesses may speak.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans & Insular Affairs plans a hearing at 10 a.m. It takes place in Room 1334, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. The subcommittee will take testimony on several bills, including the National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Limitation Act of 2013 (H.R. 3409), which would remove the president's authority to name a new national wildlife refuge unless Congress specifically authorizes one.

The subcommittee will also hear about the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 (H.R. 5069), which would increase the price of Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamps to $25. (A similar bill was just reported in the Senate.) Scheduled witnesses include Deputy Director Steve Guertin of the Fish & Wildlife Service, and Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt of Ducks Unlimited.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Capitol that afternoon, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks will take testimony on pending parks legislation. The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. It will happen in Room SD-366. The hearing will cover 22 bills.

Just to name a few of the bills, the list includes S. 1718, which would add some Army land to the Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia. Identical legislation is pending before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands & Environmental Regulation and the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.

Also on the docket: the Public Access to Public Land Guarantee Act (S. 1750), which would allow state and local governments to operate federal recreational lands in the event of federal government shutdowns; and the National Park Access Act (S. 2104), which would require the National Park Service to refund states for the costs of operating national parks during the shutdown last October.