Kilili: Rota National Park Study Bill Passes House, Again

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Guam – CNMI Congressman Kilili Sablan has announced that the U.S. House has again authorized  the Secretary of Interior to study the feasibility of adding areas on Rota to the National Park system.

The Rota Cultural and Natural Resources Act, H.R. 674, has been approved twice before, in the 111th and the 112th Congress, but it has never been approved by the Senate.

A release quotes the Congressman as saying on the House floor that “a Park Service reconnaissance survey reported in 2005 that Rota contains natural, and archaeological, and historical features of ‘national significance.’ These include pre-contact village sites of the Chamorro people, who discovered and populated the Mariana Islands 3,500 years ago.”  

The release states that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that H.R. 674 would not affect direct spending or revenues and no House member voted against the Rota bill which now moves onto the Senate.

READ the release from Congressman Sablan below:

News Release
June 17, 2013
For Immediate Distribution

Rota National Park study bill again passes House

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives has–again–passed legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of adding areas on Rota to the National Park system. The Rota Cultural and Natural Resources Act, H.R. 674, was adopted without dissent today. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the bill’s author, managed H.R. 674 during floor debate. The House approved the Rota study legislation in both the 111th and the 112th Congresses, but the Senate has never acted.

“Mindful of the previous House votes, I will not ‘preach to the choir,’  Congressman Sablan said during today’s brief discussion of his bill.

“But I do think it worth reminding my colleagues that a Park Service reconnaissance survey reported in 2005 that Rota contains natural, and archaeological, and historical features of ‘national significance.’ These include pre-contact village sites of the Chamorro people, who discovered and populated the Mariana Islands 3,500 years ago.”

Both Sablan and the Republican manager, Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah), addressed the issue of cost during their remarks. One hundred Republicans voted against the Rota study bill in the last Congress. Cost was a concern in that vote.

Today, however, Sablan reminded his colleagues that the Congressional Budget Office had found that H.R. 674 would not affect direct spending or revenues. And, today, no one voted against the Rota bill.

Sablan’s bill is not alone in finding the Senate to be a roadblock. Three other bills on the House agenda today were also coming up for passage a third time. Each of those bills, as Sablan’s, had been approved by the House in previous Congresses, only to die in the Senate.

“We all understand that even getting simple legislation through Congress can be a complex process,” Sablan said. “And we all know that to be successful here you have to learn never to give up.

“Having a National Park could be profoundly beneficial for the economy of Rota, though. So, I will keep pushing for this feasibility study, which is an important step on the way to establishing a Park unit.

“Having the ancient Chamorro sites on Rota and the limestone forests that provide habitat for endangered species there protected by the National Park system also ensures that those cultural and natural resources will still be available for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

“That is another important reason to keep working until we get this bill enacted into law.”

Rota National Park study bill again passes House

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives has–again–passed legislation authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of adding areas on Rota to the National Park system. The Rota Cultural and Natural Resources Act, H.R. 674, was adopted without dissent today. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the bill’s author, managed H.R. 674 during floor debate. The House approved the Rota study legislation in both the 111th and the 112th Congresses, but the Senate has never acted.

“Mindful of the previous House votes, I will not ‘preach to the choir,’ Congressman Sablan said during today’s brief discussion of his bill.

“But I do think it worth reminding my colleagues that a Park Service reconnaissance survey reported in 2005 that Rota contains natural, and archaeological, and historical features of ‘national significance.’ These include pre-contact village sites of the Chamorro people, who discovered and populated the Mariana Islands 3,500 years ago.”

Both Sablan and the Republican manager, Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah), addressed the issue of cost during their remarks. One hundred Republicans voted against the Rota study bill in the last Congress. Cost was a concern in that vote.

Today, however, Sablan reminded his colleagues that the Congressional Budget Office had found that H.R. 674 would not affect direct spending or revenues. And, today, no one voted against the Rota bill.

Sablan’s bill is not alone in finding the Senate to be a roadblock. Three other bills on the House agenda today were also coming up for passage a third time. Each of those bills, as Sablan’s, had been approved by the House in previous Congresses, only to die in the Senate.

“We all understand that even getting simple legislation through Congress can be a complex process,” Sablan said. “And we all know that to be successful here you have to learn never to give up.

“Having a National Park could be profoundly beneficial for the economy of Rota, though. So, I will keep pushing for this feasibility study, which is an important step on the way to establishing a Park unit.

“Having the ancient Chamorro sites on Rota and the limestone forests that provide habitat for endangered species there protected by the National Park system also ensures that those cultural and natural resources will still be available for future generations to appreciate and learn from.

“That is another important reason to keep working until we get this bill enacted into law.”