Great American Outdoors Act Earns Congressional Vote, Moves to President's Desk

The momentous bill has reached the last step to becoming law, as the Great American Outdoors Act passes the Congressional vote.

The Great American Outdoors Act has cleared one of the final hurdles to becoming an official piece of legislation.

The bipartisan bill that's set to spend upwards of $3 billion on conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands has passed through the House of Representatives after a 310-107 vote of approval.

It will now go to President Donald Trump's desk, and is expected to be signed upon arrival.

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Most notably, the bill will double the current spending on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and refrain from using taxpayer dollars to do so. Funds will be secured through offshore oil and gas royalty payments.

From the Associated Press:

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, called the bill "one of the biggest wins for conservation in decades."

"We have a generational opportunity to ensure America's crown jewels are protected," he said, adding that the bill would ensure all tools available are used to help the nation respond to the climate crisis and protect landscapes, clean water and clean air.

At a time of intense partisan disagreements, "it is perhaps more necessary that ever to demonstrate we can still bridge the divide ... and work together to find common ground," said Grijalva, a Democrat. "This bill goes beyond politics. It's about ensuring that we pass along a legacy of public lands."

Many legislators across parties, seats, and geographic locations urged support of the bill, as well as the president himself.

Proponents of the bill claim some 100,000 jobs will be created thanks to the passing of the bill, and numerous trail systems, forests, and national parks will receive the support and restoration they've arguably needed for years.

Summarily, the bill specifies close to $900 million a year to go towards the LWCF, and an additional $1.9 billion annually on national park, forest, wildlife refuge, and rangeland improvements.

For those of us who care about the future and protection of public lands, this should be considered a win and official recognition that outdoor recreation is something worth saving.