The Great American Outdoors Act contains important provisions that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address a debilitating maintenance backlog at public lands. The Senate bill, S. 3422, was introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and now has 58 cosponsors; this bill is expected to be voted on this week. On the other side of Capitol Hill, Congressmen Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Mike Simpson (R-ID) introduced a companion bill, H.R. 7092, last week. The text for the House bill has not been released at this time. However, Rep. Cunningham’s bill is expected to address the same subjects as the Senate’s Great American Outdoors Act.
Senator Gardner’s bill would establish the “National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund,” setting an annual maximum deposit amount of $1.9 billion to restore Federal public lands. The Natural Resources Management Act was signed into law February 2019 and permanently reauthorized LWCF. This bill would build upon that by permanently and fully funding ($900 million annually) of LWCF the law.
With 2020 being an election year, both the House and Senate bills will provide their Sponsor’s with a win for their constituents back home. Both Gardner and Cunningham are particularly vulnerable, and these bills could help them in November.
In any event, however, the successful passage of these bills would be a monumental win for conservation efforts in the United States. Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said, “This bipartisan bill will improve our trails and recreation sites making it easier for hunters and anglers to access natural resources. It also makes lasting investments in our outdoor recreation economy at a time when we need to get Americans back to work.”
To let your Congressmen know you support this important legislation, fill out this easy-to-use form provided by TRCP.