Action Alert: Great American Outdoors Act Introduced in the House

June 5, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

On June 4, Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and eight other original cosponsors introduced the House of Representatives version of the Great American Outdoors Act. The House version, which is identical to the Senate version introduced in March, will provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the $12 billion maintenance backlog on our public lands.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, created in 1965, provides funding for land and water conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation projects. The Fund is not tax-funded; rather, it's funded by royalties collected from offshore oil and gas operations. The Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that the LWCF will be fully funded at $900 million annually for the first time in the Fund's history. For reference, the Fund is slated to receive $495 million this year - the highest allocation in the last 17 years.

Additionally, the new legislation will provide funding for the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog currently faced on our public lands. The Great American Outdoors Act will dedicate $9.5 billion to restore public land infrastructure over a period of five years, with the National Park Service (NPS) receiving 70% of these funds. Other federal agencies, such as the US Forest Service (USFS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will receive most of the remainder.

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines wild deer conservation, sportsmen access and state and federal land management as top priority areas. "The introduction of the Great American Outdoors Act in the House further ensures that our nation's public lands remain intact, well-managed and open to hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits," said Torin Miller, NDA's policy and outreach coordinator. "We're hopeful that the Administration and both houses of Congress will continue to work together to ensure permanent funding at the highest level for the LWCF and our public lands' maintenance backlog."

Join NDA in supporting legislation that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and tackles the huge maintenance backlog currently faced on our public lands. Visit the NDA Grassroots Advocacy Center, where you can directly email your Congressional Representatives and urge them to support funding for conservation projects, public lands and outdoor recreation.