U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passes major conservation bill

(Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday handed a serious conservation invoice that may completely direct $900 million a yr to a long-standing federal program geared toward buying and defending public lands.

The 73-25 vote within the Republican-led chamber was a uncommon bipartisan effort led by Republican Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana, in addition to Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Both Gardner and Daines are up for re-election this yr.

The Great American Outdoors Act, if enacted into regulation, would insulate the Land and Water Conservation Fund from the congressional appropriations course of. It ensures $900 million in annual funding that comes from royalties paid by offshore oil and gasoline drilling operations.

The LWCF was created in 1964, however Congress in most years has diverted funding for it to different makes use of. It obtained $495 million in funding final yr.

The Great American Outdoors Act gives $9.5 billion over 5 years for deferred upkeep tasks on public lands together with nationwide parks and forests.

The laws now strikes to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, the place it’s anticipated to cross. President Donald Trump has stated he would signal the invoice into regulation.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Peter Cooney


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