Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this morning that would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and fund maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters at $9.5 billion over five years. The Great American Outdoors Act is companion to an identical bill introduced in March by the Senate, which is expected to consider it in the coming days.
Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and eight other original cosponsors led introduction of the House bill, which would fund a wealth of shovel-ready conservation and access projects across the United States, such as repairing roads, trails, bridges and water structures. BHA, which has consistently rallied in support of LWCF and agency funding, thanked the bill’s sponsors.
“Together American sportsmen and women have raised our voices in support of conservation and access, of fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, of addressing long overdue maintenance issues, of investing in the public lands and waters that are critical to our way of life,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney, “and today our elected leaders are showing us that our voices are heard.
“Our public lands and waters restore us and heal us,” continued Tawney. “They are crucial to who we are as a nation of citizens, irrespective of party affiliation, race or gender. The strong bipartisan support this legislation is attracting in both chambers of Congress testifies to their broad appeal – and to the need to unite around long-term investments that benefit our hunting and angling heritage and outdoor recreation economy.”
The Senate, which signaled its intent to advance the Great American Outdoors Act to a vote before Congress adjourned for the Memorial Day recess, could consider the bill as early as next week. 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) introduced the legislation, along with 53 other co-sponsors.
“The moment has arrived, and the time is now,” Tawney concluded. “If not us, who? If not now, when? Together we can resolve to unite in support of our public lands and waters, and together we can ensure that the Great American Outdoors Act will advance to the president’s desk and be signed into law.”
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