WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually and provide $9.5 billion over five years to fix maintenance problems that are plaguing America’s public lands. With a final vote of 310-107, the bill garnered considerable bipartisan support, and now heads to the President’s desk.
Alongside other environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, outdoor recreation businesses and more, Environment Georgia and our national umbrella organization, Environment America, has prioritized the LWCF, America’s best conservation and recreation program, for years. Hosting ‘Concrete Camping’ events in Atlanta; utilizing billboards in several states; lawn signs and banners; a steady series of op-eds; and a continual presence on Capitol Hill and in congressional districts, we have urged lawmakers to invest in America’s great outdoors.
In response to the House’s vote, Environment Georgia’s Executive Director, Jennette Gayer, released the following statement:
“The Great American Outdoors Act embraces what we all know to be true:protecting and enhancing our public lands is an essential part of the American ethos. By locking in $900 million a year for outdoor projects, plus providing a short-term infusion of money to address maintenance issues, the House is reaffirming that commitment to the natural world.
“Whether it’s parks along the Chattahoochee, Georgia’s national forests, or the Cumberland National Seashore, Georgians love and utilize public lands. This bill is not only an investment in outdoor spaces but also in our health and psyche.
“With today’s passage of this bill, we’re one step away from putting a lock and key on funding that has always been intended for conservation projects -- yet consistently diverted to other purposes. We’re closer to adopting a new consciousness for today’s world -- that our lives are made richer if surrounded by more nature, rather than more extracted resources.
“We applaud the House’s bipartisan passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, and ask that President Trump sign this important bill.”
Environment Georgia works statewide for clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate.