Congress passes Cory Gardner’s public lands bill

The Denver Post
July 22, 2020

Trump expected to sign the Great American Outdoors Act

By Justin Wingerter July 22, 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a major public lands bill introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma.

The Great American Outdoors Act passed by a vote of 310-107. It previously had passed the Senate, so it now goes to President Donald Trump, who has said he will sign it.

“By fixing and repairing our public lands and national parks, we not only have the chance to improve the roads, hiking trails, campsites and visitor centers for generations to enjoy,” Gardner said in a statement after the House vote, “but also to create thousands of job opportunities in Colorado and across the nation at a time when our country needs them most.”

Gardner has highlighted the bill often as he fights for re-election against John Hickenlooper, a Denver Democrat. The Gardner campaign released a TV ad about his work on the Great American Outdoors Act on Tuesday.

The legislation permanently funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been chronically underfunded for decades. The fund uses oil and gas revenue to expand public lands, safeguard natural areas and protect cultural heritage sites in every state across the country.

“For over five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested approximately $278.6 million in the state of Colorado,” said Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen.

The bill also addresses a $20 billion backlog of deferred maintenance in national parks. The Great American Outdoors Act has had significant bipartisan support since Trump announced in March that he likes it. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Denver Democrat, was a cosponsor of the legislation.

But in the House on Wednesday, Colorado’s votes were split along party lines. The state’s four House Democrats voted in favor and the three Colorado Republicans voted against.

“One of our country’s most popular national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park, faces a significant maintenance backlog of $84 million,” said Rep. Joe Neguse, a Lafayette Democrat, during a speech on the House floor. “Our park employees are working incredibly hard, but they can’t do it alone.”

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, will highlight the Great American Outdoors Act in remarks Thursday morning at Rocky Mountain National Park.Popular in the Community

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