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McKeon's Wilderness, Water Bills Pass Senate

Eastern Sierra and Mammoth Water District Legislation

Posted: January 15, 2009 4:59 p.m.
Updated: January 15, 2009 5:34 p.m.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) today is praising passage of S.22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which includes McKeon's Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Mountains Wild Heritage Act and Mammoth Lake Community Water District language.

"I am pleased the Senate has recognized the need to set aside 470,000 acres of pristine wilderness in the 25th Congressional District," McKeon said. "This action ensures that these lands will be preserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations.

"Furthermore, my water district measure that was included in today's Senate-passed lands bill will allow Mammoth Community Water District, Mono County, and the City of Mammoth to accommodate for their growing economic need by granting them the right to allocate their land resources as needed.

"Both of these measures are high priorities for the 25th District of California, and I look forward to now shepherding the bill through House passage," McKeon said.

Prior to 1987, the Mammoth Community Water District occupied certain lands administered by the Forest Service through a special use permit. At the time, the law allowed the District to acquire 25 acres, but directed that 12 acres of the land could only be used for the purposes for which it had been used prior to the time of the conveyance, principally the storage of materials and for oxidation ponds. Those 12 acres are no longer needed for storage but current law (PL 97-465) forbids the District from using it in an alternative and economically viable way.

The Senate Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 was introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman and includes protections for close to 2 million acres nationwide. California regions with included safeguards are in Riverside County, the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Mountains, and the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

The Senate met in special session this past Sunday and successfully passed cloture with a supermajority, therefore preventing a filibuster on the legislation. The bill was brought to the floor of the Senate today and successfully passed with a vote of 73-21.

The omnibus lands bill will now head to the House chamber, but the legislation is not currently on the House calendar.

For more information on district land and water measures, visit To view maps of the Eastern Sierra legislation, click here.


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