Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) along with 19 other House members sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking for an open amendment process during the upcoming debate on the Great American Outdoors Act.
The House is expected to consider the Great American Outdoors Act next week. This large piece of legislation includes funding to address the maintenance backlog in our national parks, but it also includes provisions that provide for the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
LWCF is the largest land buying program in the Western United States. Many Western states, including Arizona, already have large amounts of public lands and more land buying will mean greater strain on essential services in these states and communities. Additional land buying will also exacerbate our existing maintenance backlog, something this bill is supposed to try to address. Members should be given the opportunity to amend the bill and have their voices be heard.
"The Great American Outdoors is an extremely consequential piece of legislation. The bill combines necessary funding to address our nations park maintenance backlog with controversial provisions to make funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. I am categorically opposed to permanent funding and reauthorization of the LWCF. This would take the program completely outside of congressional oversight and commit $900 million a year to be used for reckless land buying. The communities I represent in Arizona are tired of Congress giving up its responsibilities, piling up trillions in debt for future generations, and allowing the federal government to mismanage their land," said Congressman Gosar.
"Our public lands have been mismanaged for decades.With more than $11 billion in deferred maintenance for our National Park System and over $5 billion for the Forest Service, now is not the time to be buying up more land with the permanent authorization of the LWCF. Putting the LWCF on autopilot may throw a bone to environmentalists, but it will inevitably cause further strain on the maintenance of our public lands. As Members of the House, we come to Washington to legislate on behalf of our constituents; allowing us to amend the Great American Outdoors Act on the House Floor is the best process the House can use to do so," said Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).
The letter was signed byRep. Rob Bishop (UT-01), Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04), Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Rep. Garret Graves (LA-06), Rep. Don Young (AK-AL), Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01), Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Rep. Steve King (IA-04), Rep. Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Rep. Ralph Abraham (LA-05), Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04), Rep. Adrian Smith (NE-03), Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36), Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21), Rep. Alex Mooney (WV-02), Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01)