Huffman Votes for Great American Outdoors Act
Bill Invests in National Parks and Public Lands and Supports American Conservation and Outdoor Economy
July 22, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1957, the Great American Outdoors Act. Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), voted in favor of the bill, which would provide permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and establish the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. The bill, which had already passed the Senate, now heads to the President for his signature.
“The Great American Outdoors Act is a win-win for our public lands and the economy. This bill will fund projects to rebuild crumbling national park and public lands infrastructure across the country, preserve historic sites and access to recreation, and protect public lands for everyone,” said Rep. Huffman. “Last year, we permanently reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and now by fully funding this program and addressing restoration needs in national parks and public lands, we are keeping that funding promise. Protecting and restoring public lands will generate jobs and revive the outdoor recreation economy that's so important for communities throughout my district. From Muir Woods all the way up to the Smith River National Recreation Area, the LWCF has been critical to the landscape of the North Coast.”
Rep. Huffman is a cosponsor of the Great American Outdoors Act and has been a vocal advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF has helped protect parks, forests, and trails across California’s North Coast and ensured access for fishing, hunting, hiking, and other outdoor recreation. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the LWCF priority list included $1.1 million for the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, $6.4 million for the Sanhedrin wilderness in Mendocino National Forest, $1.2 million for the Trinity Alps wilderness, and $1.5 million for the Mattole Headwaters Forest. The LWCF also funds Forest Legacy Program grants to help protect working forests and support sustainable forest management.
Outdoor recreation generates $92 billion in consumer spending in California and supports 691,000 direct jobs. California’s second district has at least 134 outdoor companies and residents spend $1.93 billion on outdoor recreation each year.
There is a nearly $12 billion backlog in repair needs in national parks, and in total over $20 billion in backlog maintenance needs on all public lands. Deferred maintenance at NPS sites in California’s second district include the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore, Muir Woods National Monument, Redwood National Park, along with backlog needs on Forest Service and other public lands in the district.
In addition to the benefits for Northern California from the LWCF, the Great American Outdoors Act would:
- Direct non-taxpayer funds already being deposited in the Land and Water Conservation Fund – including $900 million in annual offshore energy receipts that routinely have been diverted from the fund for decades – to be spent only and fully on their intended purpose of protecting land and water for future generations.
- Establish the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund, which would direct up to $9.5 billion in non-taxpayer monies (unobligated mineral receipts) over five years to address priority repairs in national parks and on other public lands. The National Park Service would receive 70% of Fund proceeds; the U.S. Forest Service would receive 15%; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education schools would each receive 5%.
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