November 13, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 179 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
CONGRESSMAN LESTER WOLFF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 179
(House of Representatives - November 13, 2018)
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[Pages H9479-H9480] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] CONGRESSMAN LESTER WOLFF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 6064) to rename the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge as the Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge. The Clerk read the title of the bill. The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 6064 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. FINDINGS. The Congress finds the following: (1) The Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1968. It is located on the north shore of Long Island in eastern Nassau County, is the largest refuge in the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and receives the most public use of all the refuges in the Complex. (2) The State of New York designated Oyster Bay a significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat. It is especially important for wintering waterfowl such as black duck, greater scaup, bufflehead, canvasback and long-tailed ducks. Management activities include wetland restoration and protection of the natural shoreline and vegetation. (3) The refuge is unique in consisting solely of bay bottom and adjacent shoreline up to the mean high-tide mark. Ninety percent of New York's commercial oyster harvest comes from the refuge. Visitors enjoy fishing, wildlife observation, photography and environmental education. The refuge is truly a national treasure. [[Page H9480]] (4) Many visitors are unaware that were it not for the tireless work and advocacy of then-freshman Congressman Lester Wolff, this area would today be an 8.5-mile causeway and bridge across Long Island Sound between Oyster Bay and Rye, New York, connecting Nassau and Westchester Counties. (5) The bridge was first proposed by Robert Moses, the well-known New York City Planner, to divert traffic from New York City. Former Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed into law legislation creating the bridge authorized by the New York State Legislature in 1967. (6) Congressman Wolff, elected in 1964, quickly decided the bridge would be an intrusion in a pristine area, and that Long Island Sound was a very precious resource that was despoiled. The conservation threats in the mid-1960s were suburban development, wetland filling, and industrial pollution. The fight to preserve this land became an enormous political fight and is considered to be a turning point in New York State's environmental legacy. (7) With State and local political and community leaders, and especially the North Shore leaders and the Committee to Save the Long Island Sound, Congressman Wolff arranged a meeting with Department of the Interior representatives and local leaders where the idea of creating a wildlife refuge from municipal and privately owned wetlands was created. (8) The Town of Oyster Bay, in which one end of the bridge was to be located, deeded 5,000 acres of wetlands to the United States to be maintained as a Federal wildlife preserve. It was stipulated that if the Department of the Interior agreed to an intrusion of the property, it would revert to the town. Creating a Federal wildlife preserve provided the land with Federal protection. (9) Because of the vision, dedication, and perseverance of Congressman Lester Wolff, all of us and future generations can enjoy the beauty and magnificence of this refuge. SEC. 2. RENAMING THE OYSTER BAY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE AS THE CONGRESSMAN LESTER WOLFF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE. (a) Renaming.--The unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System known as the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge and located near Oyster Bay, New York, shall be known as the ``Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge''. (b) References.--Any reference in a law, map, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to the unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System known as the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge is deemed to be a reference to the ``Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge''. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn) and the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Hanabusa) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Colorado. General Leave Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous materials on the bill under consideration. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Colorado? There was no objection. Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 6064 would rename the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge as the Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge in honor of the former Long Island North Shore Congressman. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1965, Congressman Wolff served eight terms representing the people of New York. During that time, he successfully pushed to create the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the north shore of Long Island. It is both the largest refuge in the Long Island refuge complex and the most popular with visitors. Congressman Wolff has the distinction of being the oldest living former Member of Congress. To this day, he continues to host a weekly PBS show called ``Ask Congress,'' where he works to connect the American people with U.S. legislators. Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of this measure, and I reserve the balance of my time. Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by yielding 4 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Suozzi), my colleague, who was the sponsor of this bill. Mr. SUOZZI. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Hawaii and the gentleman from Colorado for recognizing me to support H.R. 6064, which will rename the Oyster Bay Wildlife Refuge as the Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge. As Congressman Lamborn pointed out, Congressman Wolff is the oldest living former Member of Congress, and he will be celebrating his 100th birthday on January 4, 2019. The Congressman, back in the 1960s, got into a big battle with a very well-known figure in New York in government and politics at the time, and really known throughout the Nation as the Power Broker, Robert Moses. They wanted to build a bridge across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut to Oyster Bay, and Congressman Wolff, who was a freshman Congressman at the time, recognized the importance of preserving this important natural resource and created the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It is one of the most important areas for natural refuge anywhere on the north shore of Long Island today and home to many types of waterfowl, such as black ducks; greater scaups; bufflehead, canvasback, and long-tail ducks; as well as great herons; and, now, osprey and red-tailed hawks. This was a major battle when the environmental movement was very nascent at the time in the United States of America, and it took tremendous courage on the part of Congressman Wolff to stand up to Robert Moses at the time and the Governor of New York State, then- Governor Nelson Rockefeller, to preserve this important piece of property, as well as to block the bridge that would have gone across the Long Island Sound, an 8.5-mile bridge across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut to Long Island. So this is a great, fitting tribute for a wonderful man who we hope will be able to enjoy his 100th birthday celebrating the naming of the Congressman Lester Wolff National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, we are prepared to close. Ms. HANABUSA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time. I would like to commend Representative Suozzi for this bipartisan initiative to honor the legacy of Congressman Lester Wolff, who had the foresight to protect Oyster Bay from unnecessary development. Thanks to his hard work and vision, the refuge remains an important stopover for wintering waterfowl and a popular destination for outdoor recreation. This bill is a fitting tribute that deserves our support. Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to vote ``yes,'' and I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 6064. The question was taken. The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it. Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays. The yeas and nays were ordered. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. ____________________