Also passes Gardner’s bill to address maintenance backlog in national parks
Washington, D.C. – On November 19th, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) bipartisan bill to provide permanent, full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the crown jewel of conservation programs and now that we have successfully permanently authorized the program, the next step is to make the funding of the program automatic,” said Senator Gardner. “Colorado projects rely on LWCF funding and fighting year after year about how much money to provide the program does not provide the long-term planning certainty our outdoor and conservation communities deserve. This is a commonsense, bipartisan program that comes at no cost to the taxpayer, and I’m glad to see the Committee move this bill forward today to fully and permanently fund this critical conservation program so future generations of Coloradans will have access to our great outdoors.”
The Committee also approved Gardner’s Restore our Parks Act, which addresses the $12 billion park maintenance backlog and would result in new investments and infrastructure improvements to parks in Colorado and across the country. This measure would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” and reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating half of the existing unobligated revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development – up to $1.3 billion per year – for the next five years.
“We have to provide Colorado’s parks the funding necessary to help address the billions of dollars in deferred maintenance that the park system is currently facing,” said Senator Gardner. “The Restore our Parks Act will protect these lands by allowing for needed investments for park infrastructure and preservation projects.”
Also passing out of committee in today’s hearing was a Gardner-backed effort to reauthorize and increase funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. There are currently 45 ongoing projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Colorado School of Mines, and other research entities in Colorado benefiting from ARPA-E funding. The committee also advanced nominations for Mr. Dan Brouillette to be Secretary of Energy and Ms. Katharine MacGregor to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
Gardner is a champion for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the U.S. Senate:
- He led the fight to pass and have signed into law by the President earlier this year S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which included a Gardner-sponsored bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
- In April, he introduced S. 1081, the bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, a bill that will make the full funding of LWCF mandatory every fiscal year.
- In October, Gardner and a bipartisan group of Senators introduced an amendment to the appropriations bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Gardner’s bill to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund is supported by: American Forests, American Hiking Society, American Whitewater, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, National Audubon Society, National Park Conservation Association, National Park Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Pew Charitable Trusts, The Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, and The Trust for Public Land.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.