BHA Responds to Legislative Attacks on the Great American Outdoors Act

News for Immediate Release
Sept. 18, 2020
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,
mckalip@backcountryhunters.org

 

House of Representatives bill would limit GAOA’s impact and scope,
undermine bipartisan effort that resulted in its passage

MISSOULA, Mont. – Today, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers responded to legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that attacks the Great American Outdoors Act, the widely popular bipartisan bill that President Trump signed into law last month.  

BHA President and CEO Land Tawney offered the following reaction:

“The Great American Outdoors Act is an unprecedented conservation achievement – both for the resources it invests in our public lands and waters and for the strongly bipartisan support it attracted in Congress,” said Tawney. “It proved inarguably that public lands and waters are an issue that unites us all, regardless of race, gender, party affiliation or the size of our paycheck.

“The ink isn’t even dry on the bill President Trump signed into law,” Tawney continued. “These fringe elements, which are also our biggest congressional opponent of public lands, waters, fish and wildlife, are throwing political grenades for the amusement of their special interest backers. Their efforts waste their time and the time of their fellow members of Congress. They’re out of touch with the values and views of U.S. citizens, and they deserve to be quickly and uncompromisingly rejected.”

According to its sponsor, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), H.R.8288 would “correct shortfalls in the Great American Outdoors Act.” Measures in the package of bills would limit strategic federal land acquisitions that create greater management efficiencies and improve connectivity for wildlife migration corridors, as well as place geographical restrictions on the use of conservation funds instead of investing in projects that have the highest merit regardless of location. Others contributing to the package include Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Rick Crawford (R-AR).

The Great American Outdoors Act achieves a longtime goal of BHA and others in ensuring full and dedicated funding at $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a popular and successful program that funds conservation and public access projects across the United States. The bill also addresses critical maintenance backlogs on public lands and waters at $9.5 billion over five years. It passed through Congress decisively – 73-25 in the Senate and 310-107 in the House – before being signed by the president.

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