Pombo was defeated in his bid for re-election last Fall.
"In the House, up until now, the Republican majority was not very supportive of more park land, but we have a new majority in the House that's more friendly to open space," Schiff said.
"This is the best chance in years to get it passed," he added.
If the bill is passed, the National Park Services would embark on a two-year study to determine how the Rim of the Valley could be connected via trails and new wildlife corridors, Schiff said.
Though regional conservationists share an interest in expanding the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, to actually connect the Rim of the Valley is no easy task, said Charles Taylor, spokesperson for the Santa Monica Mountains National Parks Service.
"One of the difficult things about a study like this is it requires a lot of cooperation among the various federal, state and local land-use agencies and it's hard to keep everyone happy at the same time," Taylor said.
"In my experience, land management agencies want to cooperate. But it's a difficult row to hoe because the greater Los Angeles area is diverse in its land use and its people."
The primary state agency that deals with the Santa Monica Mountains is the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
Rori Skey, chief deputy director of the conservancy, said she doesn't foresee tension between any of the land use agencies. More important is the goal they share, she said.
"We feel that this is a very important study," Skey said. "Southern California and lands all around the L.A. basin are home to a fast-diminishing Mediterranean ecosystem."
There are many islands of open space that surround the San Fernando Valley, and those isolated areas represent a risk for many wildlife species, Skey said.
"For a mountain lion or a mule deer, they need to get from one habitat to another without having to dodge traffic or go through a backyard," she said.
The Rim of the Valley Act has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, according to Schiff's office.