With Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson leading the charge as a co-sponsor, the U.S. House of Representatives on July 22 passed the Great American Outdoors Act.

The legislation, which earlier this year passed the Senate, now awaits the president’s signature. The act will secure full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Funding at $900 million annually. The money will come from offshore oil and gas royalties, and it will be used to build everything from city parks, walking trails and county boat ramps to the long-term conservation of important wildlife habitat.

In addition, the act will invest $9.5 billion over the next five years to address the deferred maintenance backlog on our public lands. The backlog of maintenance projects on National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management lands has grown as conservation’s share of the federal budget has been cut in half over the last 40 years.

Prioritizing shovel-ready projects during this economic downturn not only revamps access and opportunities, but it can also put people back to work. In this way, the Great American Outdoors Act is a win for all Idahoans.

Thank you, Rep. Mike Simpson for your leadership on an issue critical to Idahoans.

Rob Thornberry

{span}Idaho Field Rep., Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership{/span}

Idaho Falls