Secretary Bernhardt's Statement on the Passage of the Great American Outdoors Act

7/22/2020
Last edited 9/29/2021

Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act, with a bipartisan vote, 310 to 107. U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt issued the following statement following its passage:

“In March, President Trump called on Congress to stop kicking the can down the road, fix the aging infrastructure at our national parks and permanently fund conservation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He accomplished what previous Presidents have failed to do for decades, despite their lip service commitment to funding public land improvements.”

Background

On March 3, President Trump tweeted: “I am calling on Congress to send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks. 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!”

The Trump Administration worked with Congress to secure the passage of this landmark conservation legislation, which will use royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to provide up to $1.9 billion a year for five years to repair critical facilities and infrastructure in our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, recreation areas and American Indian schools. It will also permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the tune of $900 million a year to invest in conservation and recreation opportunities across the country. 

Last year, the National Park Service welcomed 327 million visitors who generated an economic impact of more than $41 billion and supported more than 340,000 jobs. Increasing popularity of our public lands has resulted in our national parks needing upgrades and improvements for more than 5,500 miles of paved roads, 17,000 miles of trails and 24,000 buildings. This legislation finally provides a long-term solution to this significant issue for the benefit of the American people and the betterment of our public lands.

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