Camp 4 | Credit: Paul Wellman/Santa Barbara Indep

The $738 billion National Defense Authorization Act includes a provision to place 1,427 acres into the Chumash reservation. The announcement by Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office on Tuesday concerning Camp 4, a highly contentious parcel of land in the Santa Ynez Valley, shared space with safe military housing and parental leave for federal employees in a bill addressing more than 300 separate federal subjects from the “accounting” category to Yemen, and including Indian lands. Before being added to the defense bill, Camp 4 passed the four relevant committees in Congress, Rep. Carbajal’s office said.

Feinstein’s office explained that a “vast majority” of senators supported the Camp 4 amendment after the land transfer passed the House. It was added to the larger bill, which often happens to measures with broad support, in order to get a vote. It had passed the four relevant committees — House and Senate armed services committees through approval from their chairmen, and the House Natural Resources and Senate Indian Affairs committees — said Noelle Rosellini, a spokesperson for Rep. Salud Carbajal’s office.

The bill is the result of a yearlong effort between Democrats and Republicans in D.C., according to The Hill. One of the deal busters was the issue of PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, cancer-causing chemicals found in firefighting foam that contaminates groundwater at hundreds of military sites. The House version of the act sought to place PFAS under the Superfund law. Republicans refused to sign it, though the current version bans PFAS use by the Pentagon.

The final compromise bill creates a Space Force, which President Trump proposed, as a branch of the Air Force. According to The Hill, it was a horse trade for 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. However, after the explosive Washington Post report on Monday that the military hid its assessment that the war in Afghanistan could not be won, presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders urged Congress to vote down the defense appropriations act, which failed to “rein in out-of-control spending,” according to Democracy Now, and added $22 billion to a bloated budget. 

Correction: This story was updated on Dec. 14 to clarify Camp 4’s passage among Congressional committees.


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