Rep. McKeon Backs Rep. Cook’s Alternative Twentynine Palms Base Plan

Press Release
April 23, 2013

Rep. McKeon Backs Rep. Cook’s Alternative Twentynine Palms Base Plan

WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) today announced key support for his alternative plan for the proposed Twentynine Palms Marine base expansion.

Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), who is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stated the following:

“I am happy for the opportunity to cosponsor the ‘Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area Establishment Act.’ I commend Congressman Cook for taking up this issue and introducing this legislation. While we have been working this particular issue for several years now, it was Mr. Cook’s leadership and unique insight that has created a balanced approach. This legislation provides the Marine Corps with increased training capability and ensures our off-highway vehicle community has a safe and protected recreational area. I look forward to working with Congressman Cook on this important legislation.”

Cook said, “I’m pleased to have the support of Chairman McKeon. His name carries a lot of weight in Congress when it comes to military issues. After announcing my plan last week, I’ve been encouraged by the feedback I’ve received from constituents. Public safety is a key consideration, and I think this plan protects off-roaders while still allowing limited military exercises which do not endanger public safety.”

Rep. Cook’s proposal would withdraw the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area for the purposes of recreation and military use and designate it as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreational Area. The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking. U.S. Marine Corps activities would be permitted to take place twice annually and could not include any explosives that could be left behind without detonating.

Cook’s bill is scheduled to be presented this Friday, April 26, in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

A member of the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs 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.

The proposed legislative language is available on the Natural Resources Committee website here .
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