Parsippany, NJ -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) joined with a bipartisan group of Members today to introduce the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks and other land management agencies. Rep. Sherrill was joined by author Representative Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), TJ Cox (D-CA), John Katko (R-NY), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Jared Golden (D-ME), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).
This bill is the House companion legislation to the Great American Outdoors Act introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The Great American Outdoors Act has drawn the support of more than 900 organizations across the country, including local businesses, the recreation industry, veterans groups, conservation organizations, tourism and travel associations, sportsmen, and infrastructure groups.
“New Jerseyans know the importance of clean air, clean drinking water, and protecting our natural resources,” said Representative Sherrill. “Grant funding from the LWCF has helped the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge purchase property to expand its conservation efforts, protect Morristown National Historical Park, and other sites located in the 11th District. I am proud to lead this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues to permanently fund the LWCF and I will continue to work to protect New Jersey’s open spaces.”
“Now, more than ever, we need clean water for drinking and open space for passive recreation to escape the confines of our homes,” said Sally Rubin, Executive Director of Great Swamp Watershed Association. “Great Swamp Watershed Association wholeheartedly supports the Great American Outdoors Act to provide full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and thanks Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and the other Congressional leaders introducing and supporting this bill.”
“Congresswoman Sherrill’s leadership in introducing the Great American Outdoors Act not only ensures our National Parks are cared for but also makes permanent the Land and Water Conservation Fund that has been used to establish, protect and enhance parks throughout Morris County, NJ,” said Dave Helmer, Executive Director, Morris County Park Commission.
"The NJ Highlands is the principal source of water for over 6.2 million people in New Jersey - more than 70% of the state's population! Preserving land has a huge influence on maintaining water quality,” said Zachary Cole, New Jersey Highlands Coalition. “We appreciate Congresswoman Sherrill's endorsement of the Great American Outdoors Act, and the initiative to fully fund the Land & Water Conservation Fund at its legal $900 million. A stable source of funding for conservation projects enables the preservation of critical natural resources, bolsters the state's resiliency and promotes a sustainable economy."
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has always held the promise of protecting our nation's public lands and waters for future generations," said Joel Pannell, associate director of Sierra Club's Outdoors for All campaign. "For too long, that promise has been broken as the fund has been diverted for non-conservation purposes. The Great American Outdoors Act would, for the first time, ensure these funds are used as intended — protecting critical public lands and waters, supporting close to home park access, and providing an economic boost when Americans need it most. We must do better to expand equitable access to the healing benefits of nature by investing in our parks and public lands at all levels. Congress should pass this legislation without delay."