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The House was set to vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide nearly $1B annually for parks and other conservation, but a group of Western Republicans has raised procedural hurdles that will delay final passage until late July, The Hillreported yesterday. The bill has overwhelming bipartisan support and is still expected to pass and be signed by President Trump, making the delay even more frustrating and futile. At the same time, a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges the United States to launch a major effort—a “Race for Nature” — to help the nation’s agricultural producers, who are facing a bleak economic future, by increasing opportunities to pay them for their conservation efforts.
Why This Matters: As the CAP Report explains, “Family farmers and ranchers need lifelines…Bold and swift investment in nature conservation can provide one.” According to CAP, an investment of at least $39 billion in the protection of new parks, restoration of coasts and public lands, reforestation, clean-up of orphan wells and abandoned mines, removal of aging and unneeded dams, and acceleration of private land conservation would create between 446,900 and 717,000 jobs over the next two years — a win-win.
Why The Delay?
Some Western Republicans have balked at the $900 million price tag for permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and are seeking to file amendments to change the Senate bill, which would then require House and Senate lawmakers to meet and agree. The House leadership would prefer to pass the Senate bill as is, which they can do if they wait until late in July. The Hill reported that those members have written a letter explaining their issues: “This bill sets that authorization funding on autopilot for generations to come. Such a decision to make permanent this massive federal land-buying program should be considered under an open process,” they said.
A Race for Nature Benefits Farmers and Climate Change
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Nearly 3 million acres of federal land could gain new protections after the House of Representatives passed a major conservation bill last Friday. The bill, called the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, rolls together eight bills previously introduced. If passed in the Senate, it would: Designate 1.5 […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new study may reveal the mystery behind violently exploding craters in the Siberian tundra. Last year, a 17th massive permafrost crater cracked open in the Russian arctic; the first was spotted in 2013, leaving scientists searching for a reason as to why it had appeared. The craters, the most recent 100 […]
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