A land preservation bill authored by Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, passed by a large bipartisan vote of 310-107 in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Known as the “Great American Outdoors Act,” the bill has two main functions—to permanently bankroll the existing Land and Water Conservation Fund, which ensures access to public lands, and address a long list of deferred maintenance projects in national parks, forests, Bureau of Land Management land and Bureau of Indian Education schools. The bill previously passed the Senate in June by a bipartisan vote of 73-25 and President Trump is expected to sign it into law in the next coming weeks.
In addition to preserving public lands and improving visitor access, Simpson said, the bill will create many jobs in rural communities.
“Idaho’s national forests have some of the largest deferred maintenance needs, such as roads and trails, while Yellowstone National Park has over $585 million in deferred maintenance costs,” he stated in a press release.