While the history books may best remember 2020 as the year of a global pandemic, it also could well be remembered for the realization of a 50-year-old dream across the conservation community: securing full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Today, in a 310-107 bipartisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, which will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses a small portion of revenues from offshore oil drilling to protect important land, water and recreation areas that benefit all Americans. The bill passed out of the Senate last month with a sweeping 73-25 bipartisan vote. It now heads directly to the president's desk for his signature, which is expected.
The Land Trust Alliance applauds every member of Congress who voted in favor of enacting this historic legislation. The vote guarantees that LWCF will be fully funded at the authorized level of $900 million annually. It also provides $9.5 billion for much-needed funding for maintenance at our national parks, refuges and forest service lands. In a time of continued hardship, when Americans are in need of places for respite and recreation, this legislation will go a long way to ensuring that we all have greater access to the outdoors.
This vote would have not been possible without the stalwart efforts of our Advocacy Ambassadors, dedicated land trust members and supporters. You made the calls touting the economic benefits of LWCF, wrote the emails demanding legislators finish the job and contributed in countless ways to this legislative victory. As we share in this victory, I ask you to consider reaching out one final time to your members of Congress, thanking all who voted in favor of this momentous legislation.
We fought long and hard to reach this moment. The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that our parks are properly funded, our national treasures are protected and we can continue to expand Americans' access to the outdoors. In a year where we are sometimes challenged to find events to celebrate, this is a victory for conservation that should not go without recognition. So please, join me in celebrating this landmark moment for land conservation. I look forward to continuing to work with you to protect the land we hold so dear.