Having completed a week’s worth of meetings with members of Congress here is the status of our Minnesota Arrowhead Re-Route effort.
- We have a commitment from both Senator Klobuchar (MN) and Representative Nolan (MN-08) to introduce the re-route bill in this Congress.
- We have commitments from at least another 11 Members to co-sponsor the bill.
- While a number of Republican (but not all) Members of the House will not sponsor the bill, I have their commitment to support the bill if it reaches the floor for a vote.
- Senator Klobuchar would like to introduce the bill right away, but prefers to do it jointly with the House bill from Rep. Nolan.
- There are two factors influencing the timing of the bill’s introduction in the House. The first is whether or not we can secure a Republican co-sponsor. The second is figuring a strategic way to address the incredibly partisan environment in the House Natural Resources Committee through which the bill must go. We are working on both, and its likely they will be related. Its called politics….
- After the bill is introduced we will need to be strategic and aggressive in getting committee consideration in both House and Senate. There is already an omnibus lands bill being planned for the Senate and we’ve missed that opportunity due to lack of committee initiative in the last Congress. It is likely there will be more omnibus bills into which the re-route could be wrapped.
- A potential factor could be whether the NPS moves to approve the eastern terminus extension in Vermont in a timely enough manner to give us a chance to fold it into a larger NCNST re-route bill. We are not counting on this, but if it happens we’ll be ready.
It is highly likely as things develop that we will need to call on our grassroots members in local chapters and communities to reach out to their Members. More soon!