Tlaib, Stansbury Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Public Lands and Waters for Environmental Justice Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-12) and Congresswoman Stansbury (NM-01), Member of the House Natural Resources Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations reintroduced the Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act to expand access to public lands and waters for environmental justice communities.

The Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act would begin the process of breaking down barriers that environmental justice communities face when accessing our public lands and waters. This legislation will make the recreation permitting system more accessible, less burdensome, and will ensure that outdoor recreation groups and businesses serving environmental justice communities can more readily enjoy our pristine federal lands and waters.

“Enabling greater connections between environmental justice communities and recreation opportunities on our public lands and waters is an important step towards delivering on the ideal that everyone, no matter your zip code, should be able to enjoy our natural resources,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “My residents in Michigan’s 12th District Strong and people across the country deserve the ability to hike, paddle, ride, camp, and experience all that our great public lands and waters have to offer. This legislation previously passed the House in the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, and I hope the House will pass this common sense bill again this term.”

“Each day, I am humbled to carry on Secretary Deb Haaland’s work of fighting for the people of New Mexico’s First Congressional District, and I am absolutely honored to reintroduce the Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act with Representative Tlaib,” said Congresswoman Stansbury, a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Our beautiful outdoors is for everyone to enjoy, and this bill will make it easier for every community to recreate on New Mexico’s iconic public lands and waters.”

The Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act requires the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to complete an interagency study and report within one year on:

  • The use of special recreation permits by recreation service providers serving EJ communities;
  • National and local policies that facilitate public land access for recreation service providers serving EJ communities;
  • Barriers to public land access for recreation service providers serving EJ communities;
  • Case studies of effective uses of special recreation permits by recreation service providers serving EJ communities; and
  • Recommendations for agency or Congressional action to increase public lands recreation access for EJ communities.

Portions of the Environmental Justice in Recreation Permitting Act (H.R. 3687) passed the House in 2021 as part of the landmark Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (H.R. 803). The bill received a legislative hearing in the Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands in the 117th Congress.

This legislation is endorsed by the Black to the Land Coalition, Clean Water Action, Breathe Free Detroit, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, League of American Bicyclists, America Walks, LivableStreets Alliance, Detroit Greenways Coalition, Detroit People’s Platform, We The People of Detroit, Michigan United, Michigan People’s Campaign, and Detroit Hamtramck Coalition for Advancing Healthy Environments.

The Senate companion bill has been introduced by Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV).

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

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