Great American Outdoors Act

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Great American Outdoors Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn Act to amend title 54, United States Code, to establish, fund, and provide for the use of amounts in a National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Education, and to provide permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and for other purposes.
NicknamesGreat American Outdoors Act
Legislative history

The Great American Outdoors Act (H.R.1957)[2] is a bill passed by the United States Congress, signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 4, 2020 and activated into Public Law (Public Law No. 116-152) on August 9, 2020.[3] It has two major components: fully and permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million per year, and providing $9.5 billion over five years ($1.9 billion annually), from the signing of the bill by the president, to address a maintenance backlog at American national parks.[4][5][6] The Associated Press wrote that it would be "the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century."[7]

Legislative history[edit]

President Trump signs the Great American Outdoors Act, August 4, 2020.

The bill was first introduced in the House of Representatives by John Lewis (D-GA) as the Taxpayer First Act of 2019 on March 28, 2019.[8] After inserting amendments, Senator Cory Gardner (RCO) reintroduced the bill on March 9, 2020, during the 116th United States Congress as the Great American Outdoors Act.[9] On June 9, it passed a procedural vote 80–17 and moved to full consideration before the Senate.[10] The bill passed the Senate on June 17 by a vote of 73–25.[11] On July 22, the bill was passed by the House on a bipartisan vote of 310–107.[12]

Support and opposition[edit]

Considered bipartisan in nature for the 116th Congress,[4] the bill attracted 59 co-sponsors, both Democrats and Republicans.[9] President Trump expressed a willingness to sign the act after being shown an impressive picture of land within Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park protected by LWCF funds, despite previously opposing the LWCF.[4][13] The LWCF, first established in 1965, had been made permanent by the 2019 John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act but had not been permanently funded at that time.[14][a]

The measure was supported by conservation organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, the National Wildlife Federation, and the League of Conservation Voters[4][16], while some animal husbandry and mining groups opposed it.[17] While supporting the bill, some Democrats suggested that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, only allowed debate on the bill in order to support the 2020 re-election efforts of Gardner and Steve Daines (R–MT).[4][5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Prior to the indefinite re-authorization, the Land and Water Conservation Fund had been expired for a period of five months.[14] It had been funded through temporary measures before eventually being discontinued in September 2018.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All Information (Except Text) for H.R.1957 - Great American Outdoors Act". Congress.gov. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Amendments: H.R.1957 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)". Congress.gov. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  3. ^ https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1957/text/pl?overview=closed
  4. ^ a b c d e Hulse, Carl (June 8, 2020). "Senate Moves Toward Preserving Public Lands, and Political Careers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Everett, Burgess. "Gardner brawls with Hickenlooper over threat to block recess". POLITICO. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  6. ^ Rogers, Paul (August 4, 2020). "Billions for national parks as historic bill becomes law - Amid election-year politics Trump signs rare bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved August 5, 2020. First, it will provide $9.5 billion over the next five years to repair roads, restrooms, trails and campgrounds at America’s 419 national parks — from Yosemite to the Everglades — and at other public lands where facilities have fallen into disrepair after years of neglect and funding shortfalls. ... Second and more enduring, the bill would guarantee $900 million a year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund in perpetuity.
  7. ^ Daly, Matthew (June 13, 2020). "In time of crises, lands bill gives Senate a chance to unite". AP News. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  8. ^ Lewis, John (July 24, 2020). "H.R.1957 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Great American Outdoors Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Gardner, Cory (March 10, 2020). "Cosponsors - S.3422 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Great American Outdoors Act". www.congress.gov. Archived from the original on April 30, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  10. ^ "Great American Outdoors Act Moves Toward Final Senate Passage | SGB Media Online". sgbonline.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  11. ^ Daly, Matthew (June 17, 2020). "US Senate passes Great American Outdoors Act to boost conservation, parks". AP News. Associated Press. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  12. ^ Adragna, Anothony (July 22, 2020). "Tweet". Twitter. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  13. ^ "Great American Outdoors Act Could Help Improve Trails In Colorado". June 10, 2020. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Pfister, Tom. "Land And Water Conservation Fund Activated By 'Dingell Act'". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  15. ^ "Monumental lands package shows Trump, Dems and GOP can get along". Tri-City Herald. March 13, 2019. Archived from the original on March 26, 2019. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  16. ^ "Great American Outdoors Act Would Protect and Restore America's Public Lands". www.nature.org. Archived from the original on June 10, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  17. ^ Henderson, Greg (June 9, 2020). "Livestock Groups Oppose Great American Outdoors Act". AgWeb.