Kuster Statement on House Passage of Bipartisan Landmark Conservation Legislation
Today, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) voted in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act, which includes full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for the first time in the program’s 56 year history. This bipartisan legislation also will allocate $9.5 billion over the next five years to address critical maintenance backlogs on America’s public lands. This bill, which was passed by the House with a vote of 310-107, will now go to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Congresswoman Kuster cosponsored the identical House companion bill to the final Senate language that was voted on today.
“As a life-long outdoor enthusiast, I am so proud to support this historic conservation bill,” said Kuster. “The Great American Outdoors Act will have a wonderful and profound impact in the Granite State and across the country. Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) funds have already helped our state and communities preserve lands ranging from city parks to forest wilderness to drinking water sources. And with the program fully funded for the first time, we anticipate New Hampshire will receive about $4.5 million annually as we continue these conservation efforts. The bill will also help address the more than $43 million in backlogged maintenance projects that have already been identified on public lands in New Hampshire. With so many of us eager to get outside and safely social distance in nature during the current pandemic, now is the time to ensure these special lands are protected and maintained.”
“Today, Representative Kuster helped deliver a major victory for New Hampshire’s outdoors,” said Jim O’Brien, Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire. “The Great American Outdoors Act will not only strengthen New Hampshire’s nature-based economy, it will also play an important role in our nation’s recovery from the economic, health and social challenges we are facing. At a time of intense partisanship in Washington, it is heartening to see that support for the outdoors, and the protection of our natural landscapes received such a strong and bipartisan vote. We are grateful for the leadership shown by Representative Kuster in this effort to create jobs, expand recreational access for all and protect our treasured landscapes.”
“On behalf of the Forest Society, I want to thank Congresswoman Annie Kuster for her leadership on the passage of this important legislation,” said Jack Savage, President of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. “New Hampshire’s quality of life and livelihood has always been tied to our forests and natural areas. The Forest Society’s Moose Mountains Reservation is just one example of how the Land and Water Conservation Fund has strengthened this connection between healthy forests and a healthy quality of life. With the passage of the GAOA, we are hopeful that all the stakeholders in New Hampshire -from private landowners to state agencies- will be able to celebrate more projects like Moose Mountains.”
Kuster has long pushed for permanent reauthorization of the LWCF. In January, Rep. Kuster unveiled her Clean Energy Agenda, which includes legislation to permanently reauthorize funding for LWCF, address climate change, and transition to a clean energy economy.