Washington D.C. – Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement in anticipation of H.R. 1957, The Great American Outdoors Act becoming law today:
“Today Americans can celebrate one of the most significant investments in environmental conservation in a generation. Permanent, full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund means that this vital program will never be held hostage again. Communities from Arizona, to Louisiana, to Maine, and every state in our country can count on these investments in our public spaces that help grow the recreation economy, fight climate change, and create opportunities for families to make memories in the great outdoors.
“It is my hope that just as Americans have been reawakened to the incredible value of our public spaces during the pandemic, that we can join together and approach future conservation efforts with an environmental justice lens. It was through a coincidental quirk of timing in the legislative process that the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) sponsored the bill used as the vehicle for the Great American Outdoors Act. This civil rights leader and environmental champion once said, ‘each and every one of us must cherish this planet, for it is likely the only home we will ever know.’ That is an important reminder about how the newly strengthened LWCF presents an opportunity to preserve green spaces in currently low income and park-poor communities to advances the cause of environmental justice. By doing so we can improve outdoor access, combat the climate crisis that is distortedly hurting Black and Brown communities, and address the environmental racism plaguing our country.
“I’m grateful for every person who spearheaded local efforts to protect LWCF and my partners in Congress who fought tirelessly for this victory. We all have the responsibility to care for our earth and leave our children and grandchildren a better world than we inherited. LWCF can help us march towards this goal.”
The Great American Outdoors Act fully funds the successful and popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, well above its yearly average funding level, and creates the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will provide funding to the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education to fix buildings, trails, roads and other public infrastructure in need of repair for the next five years.
Grijalva is a fierce champion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. During his decades in public service he has made it his mission to permanently authorize, and fully fund this program that protects public spaces for all.
Details on the legislation can be found at https://bit.ly/3hnhORH.
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