WASHINGTON - “The Senate’s bipartisan vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act is a sign of the unquestionable benefit it will have for people and nature,” said Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for conservation policy, National Audubon Society. “There is no more important time than now to make sure this bill becomes law to help protect birds, improve parks, and create jobs in every state across the country.”
Passed today by the U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote, the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422), would provide permanent, mandatory funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at the authorized amount of $900 million annually at no additional cost to taxpayers. The program will help national parks, local parks, public lands, and athletic fields in every county across the country.
“By providing full and permanent funding for the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund, Congress has an opportunity to restore natural landscapes, enhance recreation, and protect wildlife while creating jobs and driving investment in local communities,” said Greenberger. “In addition, it promotes wildlife conservation projects that will protect birds like the Roseate Spoonbill, Bald Eagle, Golden-winged Warbler, and Brandt’s Cormorant.”
In addition, the bill creates a new fund ($1.9 billion annually for five years) to address deferred maintenance projects at the National Park Service, Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. These public lands and spaces provide critical bird habitat, protect endangered species, support natural climate solutions, and connect people with birds across the country, but have struggled to keep up with repairs for buildings and infrastructure even as visitation has increased.
“We look forward to working with the House to move this legislation forward,” added Greenberger.
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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.