Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today announced that the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill includes a measure they sponsored to restore full public access to Santa Rosa Island. The island is part of the Channel Islands National Park, located off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.

Representative Lois Capps (D-Calif.) sponsored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Specifically, the language included in the FY08 Omnibus repeals a provision sponsored last year by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that sought to limit public access to Santa Rosa Island. 

“This marks the end to a long battle over Santa Rosa Island.  The language included in this year’s Omnibus package will ensure that the court-approved settlement will be carried out and the public will have full, year-round access to the island by 2011,” Senator Feinstein said.  “Senator Boxer and Representative Capps have joined me in working to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the Park Service’s plans to make this natural treasure available to all who wish to visit.”

Senator Boxer said, “Santa Rosa Island is a jewel in our National Park system, and should be open to all of our people, not just a select few.  With this legislation, we are correcting a mistake that should never have been made.  I want to thank my colleagues Senator Feinstein and Rep. Capps for their hard work to ensure public access to one of our finest National Parks.”

“I want to thank Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer for their tireless efforts to repeal Rep. Duncan Hunter’s ill-advised provision that interferes with a court ordered settlement agreement requiring the removal of the non-native deer and elk from Santa Rosa Island by 2011,” said Representative Capps.  “As someone who’s visited Santa Rosa Island and witnessed its beauty and rare archeological and natural resources, I know that we have to do all that we can to protect this unique national treasure for future generations.  The repeal of the Hunter language guarantees the court ordered settlement will be fully carried out to protect the island and provide unrestricted year-round public access after 2011.”

Currently, privately-organized expeditions to hunt non-native deer and elk require the closure of about 90 percent of the island to the general public for four to five months each year.  Representative Hunter’s measure also would have complicated the National Park Service’s efforts to carry out a court-approved settlement to remove the non-native deer and elk from Santa Rosa Island by 2011.  According to the National Park Service, the private hunting of the deer and elk herds pose a threat to the island’s 11 endangered species, including the bald eagle, rare plants, and native birds and fox.

The Feinstein-Boxer measure reaffirms that Santa Rosa Island is to be managed under existing authorities for the National Park Service.
 
Senator Feinstein serves as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Related Agencies, and Senator Boxer serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.

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