Rep. Carbajal Applauds First-Ever Senate Action on Central Coast Heritage Protection Act

Senate committee approved the improved federal protections for Carrizo Plain and Los Padres National Forest as part of California public lands package championed by Sen. Padilla

  • Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) is highlighting the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s approval this week of

Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) is highlighting the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s approval this week of a bill to upgrade federal protections for Central Coast public lands, the first-ever action taken by the U.S. Senate on his legislation.

The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which Carbajal reintroduced earlier this year while hiking the superblooms he’s seeking to protect, would designate approximately 250,000 acres of public land in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument as wilderness, the highest form of federal protection available. A wilderness designation would protect the land from future oil or gas drilling.

“I am thrilled that the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act continues to gain momentum in Congress. After passing the House in bipartisan votes over my previous terms, it is exciting to see the Senate sharing our interest in adding these protections for our public lands,” said Rep. Carbajal. “One of the best things about living on the Central Coast is our access to beautiful public lands, like the Carrizo Plain National Monument and Los Padres National Forest. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act will help preserve these public lands for future generations to enjoy and continue to bolster our local economy.”

Carbajal’s bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives five times over his tenure in Congress, but has stalled in the U.S. Senate in previous terms.

The legislation was advanced to the Senate floor as part of U.S. Senator Alex Padilla’s (CA) public lands package to restore and expand protection for over 1 million acres of federal public land.

“From the San Gabriel Mountains, to the scenic waterways around the Central Coast, and through our forests and rivers in the Northwest, California’s public lands and natural spaces are some of our greatest national treasures. I’m proud the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee has prioritized protecting these stunning landscapes, which have provided generations of Californians access to green spaces and play host to an abundance of biodiversity,” said Senator Padilla. “As we protect our environment, we must address disparities in access to the outdoors. This package will help secure lifelong access to nature for thousands of Californians who depend on these areas as their only source of green space.”

What Others are Saying about the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act

The legislation has received support from President Joe Biden, various state and local environmental advocacy groups, and nearly 500 Central Coast landowners, businesses, elected officials, farmers, ranchers, civic leaders, wineries, recreationalists, and outfitters.

“The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act is a truly fitting celebration of the Wilderness Act passed in 1964 – it will benefit all people, species, and the planet. Passage of the CCHPA will be a magnificent contribution to the wonder and glory of wild California and the whole United States – our waters, habitats, species and all our people. I have unreserved admiration and praise for Congressman Carbajal for re-introducing the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.  It’s a win for everyone!” said Sue Harvey, Conservation Chair with the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia Chapter. “It was such an exciting day with the Congressman as we move forward to preserve these magnificent lands for everyone’s benefit.”

“We are incredibly thankful for Rep. Carbajal’s leadership and unwavering commitment to the conservation of these incredibly important lands and waters in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain.  His bill would not only protect culturally significant lands and habitat for imperiled species such as the California condor, but would bring us closer to reaching our 30x30 goals to help address climate change and our biodiversity crisis,” said Linda Castro, Assistant Policy Director of the California Wilderness Coalition. “We wholeheartedly support Rep. Carbajal’s desire to protect these lands for us and future generations to enjoy as they exist today.”

“This legislation is critical for ensuring species will have a place to thrive in the face of a changing climate," said Daniel Rossman,Southern California Landscape Director with The Wilderness Society. “It advances 30x30 goals of protecting lands and waters necessary to mitigating the most harmful impacts of climate change.”

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