WASHINGTON, DC — Following decades of political wrangling, federal leaders are finally able to wrap up permanent financing of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with President Trump signing legislation on Tuesday morning.
It was 35 years ago this month President Regan asked a special commission to look into a permanent way to fund conservation and public lands programs.
But the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) -- which is paid for through revenues from oil and gas leasing -- has continued to be a political football.
Now, in a few short months, Congress was able to pull together bipartisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act.
It not only permanently allocates money for the LWCF, but sets aside billions of dollars to catch up on maintenance and infrastructure projects on National Parks and other federal lands.
"This is a big win for conservation. It's a big win for jobs. It's a big win for our Montana way of life. It's a big win for bipartisanship," said Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). "And perhaps it's only fitting, it took public lands to bring a divided government together."
"It will protect the Forest Service, our Fish and Wildlife Service, our wildlife refuges, our BLM grounds," added Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO).
"This will work on our National Parks. This will stop Congress from stealing the money that they have for decades and put it back into the National Parks for generations to come." :37
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) who had introduced a bill for full funding of LWCF 11-years ago, calls the bill a "big deal for the Treasure State's great treasure, our public lands."