House Passes the Great American Outdoors Act
I am proud to announce that the U.S. House of Representatives just passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a landmark bipartisan bill that I helped negotiate and pass in the Senate. It fully and permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses long-running infrastructure challenges in our public lands. It is by far the greatest investment in outdoor opportunities in generations.
Once it is signed into law, the Great American Outdoors Act will put New Mexicans back to work, restore our parks and public lands, and increase access to the outdoors for everyone. All of this work on our outdoor places will reignite local economies, create new jobs, help small businesses get back on their feet, and provide urgently needed stimulus to New Mexico's outdoor recreation industry, one of the fastest growing parts of our economy before the onset of the pandemic.
VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich right before today's vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, July 22, 2020.
For more than 50 years, LWCF has been one of our greatest tools for opening up public access to outdoor opportunities in treasured landscapes-like the Valles Caldera, Valle de Oro, and Ute Mountain in New Mexico. If you've spent any time in your local park, trail system, or outdoor area in the last 50 years, you've have almost certainly seen the impact of LWCF. Now that we will finally fund LWCF at the full level it has long deserved, communities all across New Mexico can build new parks and places to get outside.
We are also finally putting real resources behind fixing long-running maintenance challenges in our national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management lands, and at Bureau of Indian Education schools. Investing in these infrastructure improvements will create thousands of jobs at a time when we really need them. It's estimated that infrastructure projects in our National Park Service alone could create as many as 110,000 jobs. Beyond the immediate economic impact, these improvements will create a lasting outdoor heritage that we will all benefit from for years to come.
We still need the president to sign the bill into law, but I wanted to take this chance to commend all of the New Mexicans who helped us reach this major milestone. This is a huge victory for the outdoor places that we all love.
United States Senator