President Donald Trump signed legislation Tuesday that will devote nearly $3 billion a year to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands following its overwhelming approval by both parties in Congress.
“There hasn’t been anything like this since Teddy Roosevelt, I suspect,” Trump said, citing the 26th president, an environmentalist who created many national parks, forests and monuments that millions of Americans flock to each year.
Supporters say the Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century. Opponents countered that the money isn't enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands.
The Great American Outdoors Act requires full, permanent funding of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses the maintenance backlog facing national parks and public lands. The law would spend about $900 million a year — double current spending — on the conservation fund and another $1.9 billion per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and range lands.
Trump in the budget proposals he has sent to Congress had previously recommended cutting money allocated to the fund, but reversed course and requested full funding in March. Interior Secretary David Bernardt said the law will help create more than 100,000 jobs.
"The Great American Outdoors Act alone is one of the greatest conservation achievements in U.S. history, and it would not have happened without the steadfast leadership of President Trump," Aurelia Skipwith writes.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 4, 2020
News of the day: https://t.co/DaQTQQYSok pic.twitter.com/ab4MwDUmvv
Water Conservation Fund
🙌 BREAKING NEWS: The Great American Outdoors Act was just signed into law, fully funding the Land & Water Conservation Fund — the nation’s most effective program for strengthening communities through conservation and improved access to outdoor recreation! https://t.co/dij9JvatPd pic.twitter.com/8ezdmafyu9— The Wilderness Society 🌳 (@Wilderness) August 4, 2020
SIGNED INTO LAW: The Great American Outdoors Act is now law! I cosponsored this bipartisan legislation that will provide full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the maintenance backlog at our national parks, including Acadia National Park. pic.twitter.com/tzVtTDkIKY— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) August 4, 2020
New York Times
Folks, we made history! The Great American Outdoors Act was just signed into law, securing the critical conservation investments for our public lands that will ensure these treasured places are around for the next generation. pic.twitter.com/pNUmhiAomk— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) August 4, 2020
.@realDonaldTrump signed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill called the most significant conservation bill in a generation. This is leadership. Creating thousands of jobs, celebrating our nation's beauty, and repairing our infrastructure. https://t.co/LKFt0fu4LH— Derrick Van Orden (@derrickvanorden) August 4, 2020
National Parks Conservation Association
BREAKING: Park advocates - you did it! The Great American Outdoors Act is officially law!🎉— National Parks Conservation Association (@NPCA) August 4, 2020
Two decades of advocacy.
Thousands of Hill meetings.
Hundreds of thousands of your actions & messages to Congress.
Together, our hard work has paid off to #FixOurParks & #FundLWCF! 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/HQ5nVSLrHB
📢 The Great American Outdoors is signed into law!— National Wildlife Federation (@NWF) August 4, 2020
"[This] is a truly historic, bipartisan conservation accomplishment that will protect wildlife habitat, expand recreational opportunities, restore public lands & waters, & create good jobs"—@Collin_OMara https://t.co/Q5xKFmPVsf
Today, the Great American Outdoors Act became law. What an incredible gift for future Americans. The law was the product of a lot of hard work, and immense bipartisan cooperation; worth every ounce of effort. Grateful to all who’ve fought for this moment. #GAOA pic.twitter.com/dTekMehynS— Senator Angus King (@SenAngusKing) August 4, 2020
John would be so happy to see the Great American Outdoors Act signed into law to provide permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He spent his life fighting for this. Thank you to everyone who helped make today possible. pic.twitter.com/iAGwnx2bdK— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) August 4, 2020
Today, the Great American Outdoors Act will become law. This is a momentous conservation victory, and make no mistake: it was only possible because of the hard work of conservation champions, Native leaders, and communities across the nation. This is a real grassroots win.— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) August 4, 2020
Today we celebrate the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act. For too long, “America’s Best Idea” has been an afterthought. Fixing our national parks is how we restore what’s great about our Great American Outdoors. Proud that PERC Board Member KC Walsh was there to rep. pic.twitter.com/ojemggwdnV— Brian Yablonski (@BrianYablonski) August 4, 2020