President Trump on Tuesday signed a major piece of conservation legislation into law as he and other Republicans seek to tout conservation accomplishments ahead of the elections in November. Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which would provide $900 million annually in oil and gas revenues for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps secure land for trails and parks. The legislation would also provide billions of dollars over five years to address a maintenance backlog at national parks. Trump’s support for the legislation is a reversal of his previous desire to slash the LWCF. In his budget wishlist for the next fiscal year, Trump proposed slashing the LWCF’s funding by nearly 97 percent. The Trump administration’s budget proposals from past years had also suggested significant cuts to the LWCF. Announcing his reversal to support the LWCF funding in March, Trump credited two senators, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who are up for reelection this fall and both in races considered toss-ups. Holding either or both of those seats could be key to Republicans’ hopes of keeping their Senate majority. “When I sign it into law, it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands. ALL thanks to @SenCoryGardner and @SteveDaines, two GREAT Conservative Leaders!” Trump tweeted in March. Asked how the lawmakers convinced Trump to support the measures, Gardner told reporters in June that he and Daines had made the argument in a meeting earlier this year with Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “We spoke for probably over an hour or so in this meeting with the president about what the two components meant, how they worked, how they were funded,” Gardner said…MORE
Here is the White House release on the bill:
President Donald J. Trump Is Conserving and Restoring the Majesty of America’s Public Lands
“We’re preserving our land. We’re making our land better and cleaner and safer.”
President Donald J. Trump
PRESERVING AMERICA’S LAND: President Donald J. Trump is taking historic action to invest in America’s national parks and public lands.
- Today, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, which is the single largest investment in America’s national parks and public lands in history.
- This legislation marks the most significant conservation accomplishment since the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.
- The act renews our national parks and protects local lands, while also serving as a jobs and infrastructure package that will create over 100,000 additional infrastructure-related jobs.
- The legislation will provide $900 million a year in permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and will allocate $9.5 billion over 5 years to restore facilities and infrastructure in our national parks and public lands.
- This legislation won the support of more than 850 conservation groups, as well as 43 sportsmen and sportswomen groups.
- Americans who have turned to our national parks for activities during the pandemic are finding them in need of investment.
- Estimates place the national deferred maintenance backlog across all public lands at approximately $20 billion.
- The President’s action will help bring much-needed maintenance to our national parks and public lands, which play an important role in America’s economy.
- Last year, over 327 million people visited our national parks, generating more than $41 billion for the American economy.
- America’s outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent of GDP and 5.2 million jobs in 2017.
- The LWCF and public lands contribute almost $60 billion to the American economy and support 400,000 jobs through recreational activities.
- According to a recent economic analysis, every $1 million invested in the LWCF supports between 16 and 30 jobs…MORE