President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation that will devote nearly $3 billion annually to conservation projects, outdoor recreation and maintenance of national parks and other public lands.
The measure was overwhelmingly approved by Congress.
“There hasn’t been anything like this since Teddy Roosevelt, I suspect,” Trump said.
Supporters say the Great American Outdoors Act is the most significant conservation legislation enacted in nearly half a century.
The law requires full, mandatory funding of the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund and addresses the maintenance backlog facing America’s national parks and public lands.
The law would spend about $900 million a year — double current spending — on the conservation fund and another $1.9 billion per year on improvements at national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and range lands.
Supporters say the legislation will create at least 100,000 jobs, while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems.
The park maintenance backlog has been a problem for decades.
Among the bills’ congressional champions are Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana. Each represents a state where the outdoor economy and tourism at sites such as the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone national parks play an outsize role.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, also supported the legislation.
The legislation’s opponents complain it will not eliminate an estimated $20 billion maintenance backlog on 640 acres of federally owned lands. The legislation authorizes $9.5 billion for maintenance over five years.
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