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. The bill garnered considerable bipartisan support, and now heads to the President’s desk.
In response to the House’s vote, Environment Maine’s State Director Anya Fetcher released the following statement:
“From camping under the stars in Acadia to paddling the Allagash River, our parks and public lands make life better here in Maine. In them we can build sandcastles at the beach, camp in the mountains, stargaze in dark sky sanctuaries, and catch our annual moose sighting. Our parks protect the clean water we depend on and provide a home for some of Maine’s most wondrous wildlife.
“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.
“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 Maine is a non-profit advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces.