The United States Senate has passed a new bill that will see billions invested into America’s National Park Service.
Named the Great American Outdoors Act, $9.6 billion will be provided over the next five years towards federal land-management agencies including the National Park Service (NPS).
Federal public lands in the US are thought to be suffering from $20 billion in deferred maintenance costs, $12 billion of which was accumulated by the NPS.
The passing of the act on Wednesday, June 17, comes as both great and surprising news following Trump’s proposed 2021 budget, which would see Park Services have its funding cut by a whopping $587 million, Outside reports.
The closures of national parks following the ongoing health crisis will have contributed towards its debts, with the likes of popular attractions such as Yosemite National Park not bringing in any money.
Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado has spoken about the impact the pandemic has had and dubbed the passing of the Great American Outdoors Act as a historic moment.
Years of bipartisan work have led to this moment and this historic opportunity for conservation.
Today [June 17] the Senate passed not only the single greatest conservation achievement in generations but also a lifeline to mountain towns and recreation communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to being passed by the Senate, the bill had more than 850 signatories from the likes of conservation organisations, local governments, and state and regional tourism boards, who all encouraged congressional leaders to sign it too.
The Great American Outdoors Act is yet to be signed by the president, but a passage of the version presented in the House of Representatives earlier this month is expected in the coming weeks for him to sign.
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