Tuesday marked the final passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, signed into law by President Trump and set forth with a promise of almost $3 billion devoted annually to conservation projects, outdoor recreation, and improvement of national parks and American public lands. The Senate approved the bill in June.
"I thought it would be appropriate for the president", Alexander said, lauding Trump's willingness to fund needed maintenance of national parks using oil and gas royalties.
The Great American Outdoors Act provides $900 million annually to the LWCF and targets revenue from federal energy development into public lands' almost $20 billion deferred maintenance project costs. Opponents counter that the money isn't enough to cover the estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on federally owned lands.
The law earmarks $9.5 billion over 5 years to fund maintenance backlogs for many public lands such as national parks.
The law would spend about 900 million dollars a year, double current spending, on the conservation fund and another 1.9 billion U.S. dollars per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and range lands.
The support the bill grants to the National Park Service will address decades-long issues with maintenance needs, and could help create some 100,000 jobs throughout the country.
Among the bills' congressional champions are Republican senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana. Both are among the Senate's most vulnerable incumbents, and each one represents a state where the outdoor economy and tourism at sites such as the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone national parks play an outsize role.
Daines and Gardner persuaded Trump to support the legislation at a White House meeting this year, even though Trump has repeatedly tried to slash spending for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his budget proposals.
The late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., sponsored the original measure that passed the House and contained Senate amendments.
While touting the bill, Trump made reference to one of America's greatest environmental gems, Yosemite National Park.
"When they gaze upon yo-semites, yo-sem (n) ites, towering sequoias", the president said, botching the pronunciation of it not once, but twice, which instantly caused "Yosemite" to trend on Twitter.
The legislation's opponents, mostly Republicans, complain it would not eliminate an estimated 20 billion USA dollar maintenance backlog on 640 acres of federally owned lands.