Gulf Islands Land Exchange Bill Heading to President's Desk

Constituent-Driven Proposal to Become Law

October 12, 2018

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., applauded the final passage of Palazzo’s Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act (H.R. 2615), which will now go to President Trump's desk to be signed into law. Wicker and former Senator Thad Cochran introduced the Senate version of Palazzo’s bill last year.

"I've worked closely with leadership at the Mark Seymour VFW post and the Gulf Islands National Seashore leadership who have supported our efforts in getting this bill to the finish line. This is a huge victory for the Gulf Coast and our beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore that draws in millions of visitors every year. The National Seashore is a staple of the Mississippi Gulf Coast that holds historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, and natural beaches. I am pleased to see my bill advance its way to President Trump's desk for the final sign off," Palazzo said. "I am also grateful for Senator Wicker's leadership in moving my bill through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee."

“I was proud to join Congressman Palazzo to introduce this proposal, which will preserve access to the Mark Seymour Veterans of Foreign Wars post,” Wicker said. “I am pleased to see this constituent-driven idea come to fruition, especially one that has a positive impact for our veterans and communities along the scenic Gulf Islands National Seashore.”

This legislation would make permanent a 30-year easement that has provided an access road and driveway for The Mark Seymour Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5699, which is located within the National Park Service’s (NPS) Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs. In exchange for the easement, the VFW will transfer a portion of its acreage to the park, which includes valuable wetlands.

Palazzo, Wicker, and Cochran introduced the proposal in both the House and the Senate in May 2017. The House approved Palazzo’s proposal in November 2017, sending it to the Senate for final approval. After Cochran’s retirement in April 2018, Wicker shepherded the legislation through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee and onto the Senate floor where it was approved by unanimous consent.

The Gulf Islands National Seashore Park stretches from Mississippi to Florida and includes the Davis Bayou area and the Mississippi Barrier Islands of Petit Bois, Horn, Cat, East Ship, and West Ship.