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Legislators push Bush on corridor

Local lawmakers urge the commander in chief to pass measure for Rim of the Valley study.

May 17, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

BURBANK — Rep. Adam Schiff and other regional leaders pressed for the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study, which President Bush signed into law last week, to move forward as they also explained the virtues of the measure to community activists and officials Friday at Burbank’s Stough Canyon Nature Center.

“This is the culmination of seven years of effort to get Congress to take the first step in creating a coordinated plan to create the environmental treasures around us, the Rim of the Valley Corridor,” said Schiff, the architect of the plan.

With its passage, the Department of the Interior is now authorized to study the area above the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo valleys that could result in the preservation of more than 500,000 acres known collectively as the Rim of the Valley.


The bill, included in the Consolidation Natural Resources Act of 2008, was passed by the House April 29 and signed into law on May 8, culminating years of effort. But it could take up to three years to complete the study and could require further legislation, Schiff said.

“If the study recommends inclusion of all or part of the Rim of the Valley an additional act of Congress will be next to expand the boundaries of the recreational area,” Schiff said against a scenic backdrop that included the Verdugo Mountains. “This is the first step of a multistep process.”

The case to preserve the land, and effectively limit development, was made Friday by environmental leaders and regional officials, some of whom have helped Schiff push the study’s passage since it was first introduced in 2001.

Protecting the wide swath of parkland is especially important given that developers could seek to capitalize on the underdeveloped parcels of land, said Joseph Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

“There is a whole gap that the developers are looking at,” Edmiston said. “But we’re going to give the people of Los Angeles a new national park. There’s a tremendous outpouring saying this is of national significance.”

Others, including the superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Woody Smeck, said that protecting the Rim of the Valley could potentially save hundreds of animals and thousands of plants.

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