A few weeks ago, we asked for your help in telling your Senator to vote Yes with Fixes on the Great American Outdoors Act. And, now the House is set to vote on this legislation.
For background, in 1964 Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to protect our federal lands and waters. Through the enactment of S. 47 or The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act in 2019, the LWCF received permanent reauthorization.
The Great American Outdoors Act, S. 3422 makes the amount given to the LWCF permanent. If enacted, S. 3422 will establish a national trust mandating that $900 million from offshore oil and gas revenues be given to the LWCF. Additionally, the legislation will create the National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Fund to address the backlog of maintenance needs on public lands and provide $9.5 billion in offshore energy revenues over a five-year period.
While The Great American Outdoors Act receives bipartisan support, Representatives should be wary of a piece of legislation that is subject to so much money. For example, if enacted the LWCF would not be subject to the appropriations process through its permanent trust fund. This would create incentives for special interests to take advantage of the funding. Additionally, it limits Congress’ ability to reduce the amount of funds the federal government uses in the future to enact money-saving mechanisms. The federal government already owns too much land and the maintenance backlog points to its inability to properly care for so much land.
Eagle Forum joined on a coalition letter to the Senate asking for a few fixes to the legislation in the event it is passed. Specifically, the letter suggests that the LWCF trust should end in five years, like the maintenance backlog funding, to allow Congress a chance to review its need before re-authorization. Second, the letter asks Congress to ensure that federal land acquisition is approved by state and local authorities before being deemed public land, and third it asks for the end of eminent domain to seize public land.
The House should follow these steps and amend the bill to better use American taxpayer funds. Please join us in asking your Representative to only vote YES on The Great American Outdoor Act with these legislative fixes.
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