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Capps introduces legislation to protect Piedras Blancas 

Bill would add Piedras Blancas to the California Coastal National MonumentPiedras blancas lighthouse

– On Friday, Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), Paso Robles’ representative, joined her colleagues Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Menlo Park) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) to introduce the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act, legislation that would protect numerous California locations, including Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, by adding them to the California Coastal National Monument.

The Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area is an important historical landmark along the Central Coast of California, according to a statement from Capps. The lighthouse was illuminated in 1875 to provide navigational assistance to all sailors off the coast. In addition to its historic role as an aid to navigation, the onshore site and countless rocks and islands off the coast are home to sea birds, sea lions, and elephant seals, as well as over 70 native plant species. The light station was designated as an Outstanding Natural Area in 2008 through congressional designation in order to recognize the site’s historical, natural, cultural, scientific, educational, scenic, and recreation values. Including the light station in the California Coastal National Monument would provide additional protection to the site, provide greater access to the monument, boost local tourism, and reaffirm the importance of this site to both California and the entire nation.

“Expanding the California Coastal National Monument would provide greater access to these national treasures and ensure that these beautiful landscapes along California’s coast are preserved for all to enjoy,” said Capps. “I am particularly pleased that this legislation would incorporate Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area into the California Coastal National Monument. It is an honor befitting this outstanding landmark, which is teeming with historic importance and natural beauty.”

“This legislation would create a new network of spectacular public lands up and down the Pacific coast, boosting tourism in our communities and permanently protecting these pristine areas for current and future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)

“The California coast is a national treasure, which is why I am delighted to partner with my colleagues in the House and Senator Boxer to ensure it is protected for generations to come,” said Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) “This legislation helps safeguard pristine land and will benefit the local communities with new recreation and tourism opportunities.”

“Congresswoman Capps’ legislation achieves the same goals and objectives as the Piedras Blancas National Monument Initiative, a local citizens’ effort launched in 2014 and co-sponsored by the PBLSA and Friends of the Elephant Seal,” the Piedras Blancas Light Station Association said in a statement. “Namely, it brings the highest level of national status and protection to Piedras Blancas Light Station and surrounding areas. The act gives significant recognition to the historical, cultural, scientific, ecological, and recreational values that residents of the Central Coast have always associated with the light station and adjacent Outstanding Natural Area. In addition to enhanced distinction and recognition, Congresswoman Capps’ legislation strengthens funding and management resources in areas of critical need, including infrastructure, maintenance, preservation, and conservation enhancements.”

In addition to Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area, the expansion legislation would add three additional onshore sites to the California Coastal National Monument, including the Lighthouse Ranch and Trinidad Head in Humboldt County and the Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County. In addition, it would provide for the inclusion of currently exempted offshore rocks and small islands off the coast of Orange County.

Earlier this year, similar legislation was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.