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Senate passes major public lands bill

Posted by   /  June 18, 2020  /  No Comments

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The Great American Outdoors Act will fix crumbling national park infrastructure and permanently support the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Visitors Thursday at Yosemite National Park in California./Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

By Chris D’Angelo | Huffpost

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate has passed a sweeping public lands package that both addresses the ballooning maintenance backlog at national parks and provides full, permanent funding for the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program established in 1964 to protect natural areas and water resources. 

Co-sponsors of the legislation, which passed Wednesday by an overwhelming 73-25 vote, have hailed it as the most important conservation bill in a generation ― one that will preserve public lands and create thousands of jobs at a time when communities across America are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic. It now heads to the House for consideration, and President Donald Trump has promised to sign it into law. 

In a speech on the Senate floor last week, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) called the legislation a “chance in a lifetime.” 

“By helping the land, we’re helping the communities, because it’s there for future generations,” Gardner said. “This really is an opportunity for this nation to come together at a time of great need, economically and I think spiritually, quite frankly.”

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