2:30 PM EDT

Raul Grijalva, D-AZ 7th

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration.

2:31 PM EDT

Raul Grijalva, D-AZ 7th

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 324 would create the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area. I introduced this legislation on January 8 and am proud that my neighbor in the valley, the gentlelady from Arizona (Ms. Giffords), is an original cosponsor.

My own history began in the Santa Cruz Valley, at Canoa Ranch where my father worked. My earliest memories are of a life in that extraordinary scenic valley and they comprise an important part of who I am today.

Sharing a border with Mexico, the Santa Cruz Valley encompasses a multitude of cultures, a rich and diverse history, as well as a host of nationally recognized national treasures that are situated within its borders.

The amount of support for this proposal, both in my district and in Ms. Giffords', is astounding. Every county, municipality, tribe, Federal and State park and land management agency within the proposed heritage area, plus a long list of chambers of commerce, tourism organizations, conservation and historic preservation groups, ranchers, farmers and businesses, all support H.R. 324.

The House has already approved this legislation as part of a heritage area package in the last Congress. Mr. Speaker, this bill is important to many of us and to me, to my district, and to Ms. Giffords and to her constituents. I ask my colleagues to support the passage.

I reserve the balance of my time.

2:32 PM EDT

Doug Lamborn, R-CO 5th

Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I have to rise in opposition to H.R. 324. As many of us have discovered, the National Heritage Area program, although well intended, is not a new program and has no established framework. Many of our colleagues have sought to ensure that despite a lack of guidance, heritage areas would include basic property rights protections. Unfortunately, this bill does not have sufficient protection for the property owners within the boundaries of this area, and it

is likely many of them have no idea that they are to be included.

To remedy this problem, we request, and we have requested in the past, that the bill be amended to allow property owners the opportunity to remove their property from the heritage area.

While the current language allows owners to ``refrain from participation,'' nothing changes the fact that this bill places them within a new Federal designation that provides a basis for ambitious Federal land managers to claim that they now have a mandate and millions of Federal dollars to interfere with local decisions affecting their neighbors' property.

Three years ago, this point was brought to the forefront when my [Page: H9292]

friend, the sponsor of this legislation, authored legislation to reduce the size of the Yuma Crossing Heritage Area. When that heritage area was established in 2000, it was much larger than local farmers were expecting. Further exacerbating the problem, local zoning bureaucrats began to use the heritage area boundaries in planning.

Because the language designating the heritage area included no recourse for property owners who wanted out, or who never wanted to be included in the heritage area in the first place, their only option was to come to Congress to adjust the boundary and solve the zoning assault that they faced. We must not make that mistake again.

Complicating this particular proposed heritage area is the inclusion of some of the most heavily traveled human and narcotics trafficking routes in our country. We have already seen what happens when we lock up Federal border lands within Federal wilderness areas. The cartels run rampant knowing that Border Patrol is hamstrung by draconian rules making them subservient to land managers and the accompanying bureaucratic red tape. Now is not the time to place yet another layer of Federal interference

over this region. The border lands are far from secure.

I urge my colleagues to support private property rights and the effort to secure the border by opposing H.R. 324.

I reserve the balance of my time.

2:35 PM EDT

Raul Grijalva, D-AZ 7th

Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, every time we bring up a national heritage proposal, we hear concerns expressed about private property protections. We should be clear that during the 20-plus years of this program's existence, opponents have not been able to identify a single instance in which someone has been deprived of the use of their property as a result of this designation.

Tens of millions of Americans in States across the country have lived, worked and recreated and made their living within a heritage area. Despite the best efforts of opponents of these designations, they have never found a case where property rights were violated.

The Government Accountability Office even investigated potential property rights violations and found none. Nevertheless, this bill contains extensive private property provisions. These private property protections are the same language approved by Congress in earlier bills and signed into law by both the Obama and Bush administrations. If the problem existed, the bill has the language necessary to take care of it.

The other issue, in terms of law enforcement, this designation in no way restricts local, county, State or national law enforcement from carrying out its enforcement mission and its responsibility to uphold the law. There is no restriction, no impediment, and no redesignation of their mission. The mission continues. The heritage area in no way hinders or prohibits that mission from going on.

I reserve the balance of my time.