WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced today that his bill H.R. 255, the Big Bear Land Exchange Act, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this afternoon.
H.R. 255 authorizes an exchange of 73 acres of federal land in the San Bernardino National Forest for 71 acres owned by the San Bernardino County located within the forest. The County plans to use the 73 acres to build a timber processing facility in a safe and remote site further away from Big Bear City and closer to where the trees are actually processed. Currently, trees are driven down the mountain through a winding and dangerous pass to a processing facility far away, resulting in increased congestion and multiple traffic accidents.
The land exchange would also require the relocation of a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. Rep. Cook has worked closely with the Pacific Crest Trail Association to ensure that the relocation will occur before the land exchange and will include an environmental review.
Rep. Cook said, “I’m pleased that the House passed the Big Bear Land Exchange this afternoon. I’ve worked closely with our local governments to ensure this land exchange is done correctly and that all the stakeholders have their concerns resolved. This will alleviate traffic and make mountain roads in the area safer. I also want to thanks Rep. Aguilar for joining me in introducing this legislation and for his ongoing leadership on this issue.”
Rep. Pete Aguilar said, “The Big Bear Land Exchange Act will help us combat pollution and improve air quality in San Bernardino County. I was proud to support this bipartisan legislation, and I’m grateful to Representative Cook for his leadership on this issue.”
San Bernardino County Supervisor Dawn Rowe said, “I would like to thank Congressman Cook for making this land exchange a top priority for residents of Big Bear Valley. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Facility that will be constructed as a result of this legislation will reduce the number of illegal dumping sites throughout the valley. This is a huge win for local residents.”
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services 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.
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