Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009

Mar 25, 2009
Floor Speech


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   Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise today in strong support of H.R. 146, a bipartisan piece of legislation that will do wonders for conservation and historic preservation across the United States. If one, Mr. Speaker, were to add up all the hours that were devoted to each part of this legislation in the House and the Senate, it would minimize basically what I just heard from the other side, over 100 hours of debate on these bills separately. And now we are bringing them together in one omnibus public land management bill.

   This bill includes the Paterson Great Falls National Park Act. It was originally introduced in the 109th Congress and passed the House in October of 2007, like many of these other bills that are part of this omnibus bill, which is a bipartisan piece of legislation.

   As a lifelong Paterson resident and the city's former mayor, I have fought for many years to bring recognition to the site that has played such a seminal role in American history. Alexander Hamilton knew what he was doing, because it became the gateway to industry in this country so that immigrants could come here, go to work and build the greatest country in the world.

   With a National Park designation, the Great Falls will be transformed into an attraction for visitors and Patersonians alike that could lead to the economic revitalization of Paterson, joining together of public and private investment. Isn't that what we are here for?

   As soon as President Obama signs this bill into law, Federal resources will be leveraged to revitalize the Great Falls area, refurbish the beautiful historic mill buildings, maintain and protect the waterfalls, and create a living reminder of our Nation's rich industrial history. I'm proud and thankful that Congress and the President fully recognize the vision of Hamilton, the design of L'Enfant, and the cultural and historic landmarks that have shaped America's history.

   The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Altmire). The time of the gentleman has expired.

   Mr. RAHALL. I yield the gentleman 30 additional seconds.

   Mr. PASCRELL. After this bill is signed into law, I would be honored to have my colleagues visit the Great Falls where they can all see firsthand the value that urban parks bring to the National Park System and to the local communities.

   I want to thank Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Rahall and Chairman GRIJALVA for bringing this bill to the floor. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes.''

   I think, Mr. Chairman, when we are involved more in substance rather than process, we get a lot done in the House of Representatives.