Congressman Adam Kinzger is touting a new bipartisan conservation bill that is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.
The Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957) provides permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.
The LWCF has been around since 1965 and members of congress call it their most successful conservation program. Until 2019, the fund was financed through royalties from oil and gas companies operating on government land.
That changed when Congress passed a lands package law which ensured the LWCF would receive $900 million dollars a year directly from Congress. The Great American Outdoors Act makes this funding permanent, while also including language that guarantees that funds will be used the way congress intended.
The Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund created by this law will ease the burden of the nearly $12 billion back log of deffered maintenance costs spread across numerous federal conservation agencies. Deffered maintenance is when repairs or updates to federal property are put off due to budget restraints.
Each year the cost of the needed repairs grows. This new fund will receive the unallocated revenues generated from energy development on federal lands and waters from fiscal year 2021 through fiscal year 2025, totaling up to $9.5 billion over the five-year period. Kinzinger released a statement praising the new law, saying it will invest in communities around federal land and provide new business and jobs.