Trump and Senate Strike Deal to Fund and Restore American National Parks
Unique bipartisan agreement praised by environmentalists
Republican and Democratic senators have praised a deal with President Donald Trump on legislation to provide permanent full funding for the LWCF, which matches grants for public-lands investments.
The unique bipartisan agreement, now expected to secure congressional approval along with the President's signature, will include passage of the Restore Our Parks Act, delivering $1.3 billion per year for five years to combat the $12 billion maintenance accumulation at the national parks.
Colorado Republican, Sen. Cory Gardner, said the meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump was "the breakthrough that we have been looking for.”
“This is an incredible opportunity, an incredible moment for conservation, a historic conservation accomplishment,” Mr. Gardner said.
Montana Republican, Sen. Steve Daines, said McConnell agreed to bring the proposal to the Senate floor for a vote if Trump ensured he would sign the legislation.
Trump tweeted his support for the conservation agreement Tuesday.
“Cory and I both shared pictures from Colorado and Montana, and he [Mr. Trump] was taken aback by the beauty of our states, and what the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as the national parks, do,” said Mr. Daines.
“It was a great moment. He committed to doing it.”
The announcement was cheered by environmentalists.
Following Trump's tweet asking Congress to send him a bill that “permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks,” Center for Western Priorities deputy director Aaron Weiss answered, “You have proposed de-funding #LWCF every year of your presidency. Sit down.”
Colorado is the heart of our nation’s public lands, but public lands are in the heart of every American. I’m proud to have secured @realDonaldTrump’s support to permanently and fully #FundLWCF. #LWCFhttps://t.co/2yHNQb1U6U— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) March 4, 2020
Mr. Daines said that the fund received $495 million in the previous budget.
According to Ducks Unlimited, the program has been fully funded only twice in its history.
“In fact, this administration has funded LWCF at a higher level than going back 16 years,” said Mr. Daines.
“Then, last year, if you remember, we permanently reauthorized LWCF. This was kind of camp two in getting to the summit.”
Arizona Republican, Rep. Paul Gosar, tweeted that the LWCF’s grants have been “hijacked by environmentalists to lock up land & water across the West.”
West Virginia Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, said that 68 senators signed one or both of the bills, “and that’s pretty amazing,” praising the deals as “an opportunity, once in a lifetime, and we’re not going to let it slip by.”
“You’re accustomed to politicians overstating things,” said Sen. Angus King, Maine Independent.
“I think it is a fair statement to say this legislation, the two major parts of it, will be the most significant conservation legislation enacted by Congress in at least a half-century.”