Safari Club International (SCI) commends Congressmen Mike Simpson (R – ID) and Joe Cunningham (D – SC) for introducing the House version of the Great American Outdoors Act. This bill is the House companion to the Senate version of the Great American Outdoors Act (S.3422), which was introduced earlier this year by Senators Cory Gardner (R – CO) and Joe Manchin (D – WV).
This historic legislation would provide unprecedented levels of funding for conservation and public access projects through the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and dedicate billions of dollars to address the maintenance backlog on our public lands.
“Thank you, Congressmen Simpson and Cunningham, for introducing The Great American Outdoors Act in the House. This is the most important piece of legislation for conservation in decades,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin. “By ensuring permanent funding for LWCF and tackling the deferred maintenance backlog on our public lands, this bill will benefit sportsmen and the species we conserve for generations to come while giving an economic boost to the rural communities that are gateways to the great outdoors.”
The Great American Outdoors Act would provide full and permanent funding of the LWCF to the tune of 900 million dollars annually. It’s important to note that those funds would come directly from oil and gas revenues and not tax dollars. The legislation would also invest $1.9 billion annually for the next five years to address critical infrastructure needs and maintenance backlogs in National Parks across the country.
“I am very excited to see the Great American Outdoors Act being introduced in the House, and I am proud to lead those efforts,” said Congressman Simpson. “In 2017, I sat down with public lands groups, and we decided that fixing the backlog of maintenance and preserving those lands through LWCF was a partnership that makes sense, which is why I wrote the LAND Act. Seeing that vision become a reality through the Great American Outdoors Act and having the support of so many diverse stakeholders, including the President of the United States, is a testament to how important our public lands are. At the end of the day, and through these trying and unprecedented times, we realize the outdoors are why we live in Idaho. This legislation ensures generations to come will be able to enjoy these amazing places as we do today.”
“Over the past five decades, LWCF has become the gold standard of conservation programs and has invested more than $303.5 million in South Carolina to protect its recreational areas and open spaces,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “Last year we permanently reauthorized LWCF and now the time has come to make its funding permanent. LWCF has enriched countless lives in the Lowcountry by protecting many of the places that make our community unique and irreplaceable, from the Folly Beach Boardwalk to Hunting Island State Park. I stand with our community, environmental and sportsmen groups, and business and tourism leaders to urge my colleagues to pass the Great American Outdoors Act as soon as possible, permanently fund LWCF and address the maintenance backlog across our national parks and public lands.”
The Great American Outdoors Act was recently highlighted during SCI’s Virtual Advocacy Week with Senator Daines (R-MT) and Senator Gardner making live appearances to provide updates on the Senate version of the bill, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate next week.
Shortly after the Senate version of the bill was introduced, Safari Club International joined almost 50 other hunting and conservation organizations in sending a formal letter submitted to Senate leadership, urging the passage of this legislation as expeditiously as possible.
“The Great American Outdoors Act is something that SCI has been working to advance since the day the bill was introduced,” said SCI Director of Government Affairs Ben Cassidy. “We’ve had members across the country urge their Senators to pass this legislation through the Hunter Advocacy Action Center and will continue to push for passage in the House of Representatives as well.”
Enacting the Great American Outdoors Act will be among the most significant conservation victories in our lifetime. It will expand outdoor recreational opportunities for millions of hunters and anglers while spurring local economic development in communities across the country.
CLICK or TEXT “CONSERVATION” to 73075 to let your elected officials know that you support the Great American Outdoors Act.