Walter Jones, R-N.C., introduced the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives last January.
As of last week, he had six co-sponsors, all Republicans. Politically, the bill must have Democratic co-sponsors to move forward in a Congress controlled by Democrats.
On Friday, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who represents the First District in eastern North Carolina, became the first Democratic co-sponsor of the legislation.
Dare County officials, including Warren Judge, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, and Bobby Outten, the county manager, traveled to Washington last week to line up Democratic support for HR 718. They met with at least eight North Carolina Democratic representatives.
Now, the county needs a companion bill in the Senate.
North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr has indicated his willingness to introduce legislation, but he needs the state’s Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan to co-sponsor.
County officials also met with Hagan last week.
Judge said Hagan was positive about supporting legislation to overturn the consent decree.
But will she?
The legislation still faces an uphill battle in Congress. Similar legislation last summer died in committees after the National Park Service said it did not support returning to the Interim Protected Species Management Plan.