From Backcountry Hunters & Anglers:
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate is moving forward to vote on the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation that would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters managed by land management agencies. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and 53 other cosponsors introduced the bill in March. The Senate vote is expected to occur next month when Congress returns from recess.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which has consistently advocated for LWCF’s permanent reauthorization and full, dedicated funding, as well as addressing funds for the management of public lands and others, commended the willingness of Senate champions to press forward on the bill.
“The time has come to invest in our public lands and our local communities; the time has come to double down on conservation,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Our public lands and waters have traditionally been places of refuge, of solace and of adventure. Never has this been truer than right now, when we need to recenter and get our minds right. Now is the moment to strategically invest in these places of refuge by funding shovel-ready projects that sustain important habitat, increase public access opportunities, and get people back to work.”
The Senate bill includes full, dedicated funding of LWCF at $900 million annually starting in fiscal year 2021. Maintenance backlog funding in the bill totals $9.5 billion annually over five years broken down as follows:
- 70 percent for the National Park Service;
- 15 percent for the U.S. Forest Service;
- 5 percent for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
- 5 percent for the Bureau of Land Management;
- 5 percent for the Bureau of Indian Education.
“Sportsmen and women thank our Senate leaders – including Senators Gardner, Manchin, Daines, Warner, Portman and Heinrich, as well as many others – for their tenacity in advancing this critical legislation,” Tawney concluded. “We look forward to facilitating its swift and efficient passage in the Senate and encourage the House to follow suit.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.