Great American Outdoors Act
The Great American Outdoors Act (S.3422) is a bipartisan bill with strong support from 59 Senate cosponsors.
The Great American Outdoors Act combines $1.9 billion per year for five years for deferred maintenance at the National Park Service (NPS), United States Forest Service (USFS), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools and permanent annual funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million per year. The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources reported legislation that formed the basis of the Great American Outdoors Act with strong bipartisan votes in 2019.
This bipartisan legislation will help improve access to public lands, including for hunting and fishing opportunities, which creates jobs and increases economic activity. The legislation also creates jobs by funding long overdue maintenance projects that will ensure our public lands remain an important contributor to a strong and growing outdoor recreation economy that will benefit states and local communities throughout the nation and ensure our federal lands are protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.
Section 1 – Short Title
Section 2 – National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund
- Establishes a “National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund” to be used to address deferred maintenance needs of the NPS (70%), USFS (15%), FWS (5%), BLM (5%), and BIE schools (5%).
- The Fund would receive funding equal to 50% of unobligated onshore and offshore energy revenues over 5 years (up to $1.9 billion annually / $9.5 billion total) to provide mandatory funding to:
– Reduce by over half of the NPS’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog, which will address the high priority deferred maintenance projects in national parks across the country; and
-Significantly reduce the more than $8 billion in deferred maintenance backlog across the USFS, FWS, BLM, and BIE.
Section 3 – Permanent Full Funding of the LWCF
- Provides annual, mandatory funding of the LWCF at its authorized $900 million level.
- Fixes the broken mechanism which has allowed over $22 billion since the creation of the LWCF to be diverted for non-LWCF purposes. (S.3422 does not recover the $22 billion, simply fixes moving forward.)
- The LWCF doesn’t use taxpayer dollars but rather is funded from a portion of royalties on offshore oil and gas development.
- Permanent reauthorization of LWCF passed the Senate by a vote of 92-8 last year and was signed into law by President Trump in the John D. Dingell, Jr., Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.