The U.S. Senate approved the Santa Ana River Wash Land Exchange Act 92-8 on Tuesday.

After being introduced in a couple of sessions of Congress, the land swap designed to expand mining operations and environment protections in the area between Highland and Redlands was approved unanimously by the House.

However, because the 116th Congress convened on Jan. 3, the legislation must go back to the House.

Reps. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, and Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, re-introduced the House version of the bill last week.  

It was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer. In December, the Senate complied HR 497 into S. 47 the Natural Resources Management Act, a lands and natural resources bill re-introduced in the Senate by California Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

The bill will head to the House where it is expected to receive broad support and likely to be taken up next week. While not done until the House and president act, this progress took the cooperative willingness Congressman Aguilar and Congressmen Cook to sponsor these bills and companion bill by Senator Feinstein and Harris in the Senate, said a press release from the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District.

It mostly took a lot of effort by the hard-working staff of our House and Senate delegations, and they deserve our sincere thanks for their work on the Land Exchange Bill.

When signed by the president this act will clear the way for the Bureau of Land Management to take action to exchange land with the District through the regulations in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The Bureau must also agree to support the Environmental Impact Statement developed with the USFWS and the Wash Plan Task Force. 

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