Manchin: Great American Outdoors Act is an Incredible Opportunity

March 10, 2020

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt testified before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee about the Administration’s budget request for the U.S. Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2021. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Committee, highlighted the historic opportunity to preserve and protect our country’s public lands through his bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act which was introduced yesterday.

“I need to call attention to the incredible opportunity we have before us to both provide permanent, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at its fully authorized level of $900 million and address the deferred maintenance backlog at the National Park Service and other federal land management agencies. I was proud to lead my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the Great American Outdoors Act yesterday, a bill to accomplish both of these goals,” Ranking Member Manchin said. “For the last 55 years, the LWCF has been the primary conservation tool helping provide access for hunting, fishing and recreational use of public lands. We now have a historic opportunity to ensure this access is secure for generations to come. This bill is a shining example of bipartisan work and both Democrats and Republicans coming together to put politics aside to do what is best for conserving the natural resources of this great nation.”

Secretary Bernhardt stated that the Department of the Interior could implement a fully funded LWCF and said “I’ve spent a lot of time over the last week, working on precisely that issue, and I think that we’ll have a plan that would be effective.”

Ranking Member Manchin raised concerns about the Department of the Interior’s proposed budget decrease and expressed his disapproval of the proposed elimination to the Abandoned Mine Pilot Program.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.