With a single tweet, President Trump positively changed the future of land protection and wildlife conservation in America for generations to come. In urging Congress to pass legislation that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and provides critical funding to address the National Park Services severe maintenance backlog, the President opened the door for the passage of truly historic legislation.
In response to President Trump’s call to action, Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), along with 50 other Senator’s sponsored the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, which would address the two issues outlined by the President. SCI applauds the leadership of the Senator’s responsible for driving this legislation.
This is just the latest example of the commitment that Senator Gardner, Senator Daines (the 2017 SCI Federal Legislator of the Year award winner), Senator Manchin, and Senator Heinrich have to protecting wild places and wild things while promoting access for outdoor recreation opportunities like hunting and fishing.
The Great American Outdoors Act is a combination of two bills that had been previously been separately introduced. The legislation would provide full and permanent funding of the LWCF to the tune of $900 million dollars. 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.
Safari Club International joined more than 43 other hunting and conservation organizations through the American Wildlife Conservation Partners to voice support for the Great American Outdoors Act through a formal letter submitted to Senate leadership. The letter urges the Senate to pass this legislation, as proposed without amendments, as expeditiously as possible, stating that enacting the Great American Outdoors Act will be among the greatest 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.
“The LWCF supports projects in Colorado and all across our country at no cost to the taxpayer and fighting every year to figure out how much money the program will receive doesn’t provide the long-term planning certainty that our outdoor and conservation community deserves,” Sen. Gardner said.
“I am excited to see there is such broad bipartisan support to secure full, permanent funding for LWCF and address the maintenance backlog across all of our national parks and treasured public lands. Every state and territory and nearly every county in our country has benefited from LWCF funding. I am proud to be the lead Democrat introducing the Great American Outdoors Act. This is an historic achievement for conservation and a testament to the strong, bipartisan work that is still possible when we put politics aside to do what is best for our country,” said Senator Manchin.
“I thank President Trump for his support in getting this done and I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this historic conservation win signed into law,” said Sen. Daines, referencing a meeting he and Sen. Gardner had last week with the president and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), at which Trump agreed to support and sign the bipartisan, bicameral Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act.”