U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis’s ACE Act is a win-win for schools and wilderness, approved unanimously

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Washington, April 11, 2018 | comments

The House Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved Rep. Jared Polis’s, D-Colo., ACE Act today.  The bipartisan bill facilitates land exchanges between Western state land offices and federal public land agencies, and helps increase education revenue.

“By cutting red tape between state land trusts and the federal government, we can protect our most precious wilderness areas, while generating more revenue for local governments and schools that desperately need it,” said Rep. Polis. “I am pleased that we can collaborate on common sense legislation together as Democrats and Republicans in both the House of Representatives and Senate.”

Some state trust lands are unable to be used for the purposes for which they were intended because of limited access and the incompatibility of development with the surrounding conservation lands. Further, the development of these state trust inholdings could adversely affect the integrity of the surrounding conservation lands.

The Advancing Conservation and Education (ACE) Act specifically focuses on state trust land inholdings within the boundaries of federal conservation areas like national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas. The bill maintains existing rights-of-way, mineral and grazing leases, and water rights, and includes protections for tribal cultural sites and Indian treaty rights. 

Rep. Stewart (R-Utah) is co-sponsoring the bill in the House of Representatives.  Sen. Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced the bill in the Senate. 

The ACE Act has diverse support, including from the Western States Land Commissioners Association, The Wilderness Society, and the Western Governors Association.  

Polis serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce. He is the top-Democrat on the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee and a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee. Polis is the former chair of the Colorado State Board of Education, and the founder and former superintendent of The New America School - a network of charter schools in several states serving new immigrants and English-language learners - as well as the Academy for Urban Learning for homeless and at-risk youth. The district he represents today includes Colorado State University and University of Colorado.

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