By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Local support continues to build for Rep. Paul Cook’s bill, HR 3668, the California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation, and Conservation Act (CMORCA). Today, the City of Barstow, the City of Hesperia, and the Town of Apple Valley, announced their support for the bill.
Hesperia Mayor Eric Schmidt said, “CMORCA strikes the right balance between protecting our desert, ensuring public access for recreational opportunities, and allowing important economic activities like mining to continue. We appreciate Congressman Cook’s efforts to work with local officials and stakeholders on this issue and I look forward to its passage in Congress.”
Apple Valley Mayor Larry Cusack said, “I want to thank Congressman Cook for working with town officials to make sure CMORCA addresses the needs of our region. His inclusion of a land conveyance is vital to the completion of the town’s Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan, which will streamline the permitting process in our sphere of influence.”
Barstow Mayor Pro-Tem Timothy Silva said, “CMORCA is a great bill for the City of Barstow because it permanently protects OHV areas while also preserving the desert’s economic potential. I applaud Congressman Cook for drafting a reasonable solution to protecting our desert.”
Rep. Cook said, “I am glad to see even more community support for this bill. It preserves majestic landscapes for future generations, addresses the needs of off-highway vehicle users, and protects economically vital mineral sites.”
The bill which was introduced on October 1, 2015, presents a balanced approach to protecting, managing, and using public lands in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Inyo counties. The bill involves management of existing federal land and would not result in an increase in federal landownership. The City of Twentynine Palms, the City of Banning, the San Gorgonio Pass Regional Water Alliance, and the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission have also announced their support of the bill.
A member of the House Armed Services, Natural Resources, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.