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The 'Great American Outdoors Act' Signed Into Law

By signing this new law into effect, President Trump seems ot have departed from his administration's previous actions on public lands.
August 5, 2020, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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RonGreer.Com

"After spending his presidency denying climate change, placing coal and oil industry officials in top environmental jobs, and weakening dozens of public health and wildlife rules, President Donald Trump on Tuesday reversed course and signed a historic law to pump billions of dollars into long-neglected repairs and upgrades at America’s national parks," reports Paul Rogers.

"The measure, known as the 'Great American Outdoors Act,' is the most significant new federal conservation law in 40 years, since President Jimmy Carter doubled the size of the national park system by establishing 157 million acres of new parks, wildlife refuges, scenic rivers and other wilderness areas in Alaska during his final weeks in office in 1980."

The two major changes included in the Great American Outdoors Act include $9.5 billion in funding to be spent over the next five years to repair roads, restrooms, trails, and campgrounds at America’s 419 national parks, as well as guaranteeing $900 million a year to the Land and Water Conservation Fund in perpetuity.

Justin Wingerter provides additional news coverage of the law, covering the story with the additional angle of the benefits the act delivers to the state of Colorado. 

"The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, and co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Denver. It was Gardner who convinced a reluctant Trump in March to back the bill, clearing it for passage through Congress," according to Wingerter.

Up until signing the new law, President Trump had championed several efforts to decrease the size and weaken protections of public lands.

An article by Carl Segerstrom responds with a skepticism earned by the Trump administration's track record, arguing that the Great American Outdoors Act's victory for conservation comes at the expense of the climate:

To pay the bill’s hefty price tag, Congress is tapping revenue from the fossil fuel industry. Though the new law has been cheered by conservation groups, it fails to address either the modern crisis of climate change or the impacts of the West’s growing recreation and tourism economy on wildlife. In this way, the Outdoors Act exposes the gaps between conservation and climate activism, while providing a grim reminder of the complicated entanglements of energy, economics, climate — and now, a pandemic.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 in The Mercury News
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