Today, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. The landmark conservation bill provides $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and addresses the roughly $20 billion deferred maintenance backlog for federal lands.
Conservation advocates have seen many highs and lows since the bills introduction earlier this year. The President and congressional leadership initially signaled support for the move, but set it aside upon the arrival of the pandemic. Then in June the Senate passed the bill with bipartisan support by a vote of 73-25, and the House gave final approval by a vote of 310 to 107.
Deemed the “biggest federal lands bill in 50 years,” the Great American Outdoors Act would for the first time fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with $900 million annually in fossil fuel revenue. Additionally, the bill would provide more than $9 billion over five years for agencies such as the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management to address the $20 billion maintenance backlog on federal public lands. The LWCF utilizes federal money for national park maintenance, natural resource protection, and matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects. Since 1964 the LWCF has provided more than $231 in federal funds for projects in Maryland.
From coverage in Fox News:
“Today’s action is the most significant lands conservation accomplishment since President Teddy Roosevelt, and it is the single largest investment in America’s national parks and public lands in United States history,” a senior White House official stated.
Watch the bill signing here.
Previous Coverage on Conduit Street: