South Carolina Delegation Plays Critical Role in Passing Bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act
For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has protected and improved important places in every state in the nation. On July 22, U.S. House Representatives from both sides of the aisle voted to fully fund LWCF, allowing it to spend its full $900 million budget on projects from upkeep at national parks to building local ballfields. The vote confirmed the bill’s previous passage in the U.S. Senate in June.
The South Carolina delegation played a critical role in that big win for conservation. Senator Lindsey Graham co-sponsored and Senator Tim Scott voted in favor of the legislation — known as the Great American Outdoors Act — in the U.S. Senate. Representatives Joe Cunningham, Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, William Timmons and Jim Clyburn all supported the bill in the House of Representatives, with Rep. Cunningham leading its introduction.
“LWCF is one of our best resources in protecting South Carolina’s special places, and it’s extra special that this bill comes at a time when investment in conservation could help people find work,” adds Threatt-Taylor.
LWCF at Work
In South Carolina, LWCF has helped create, improve or open additional acres to public access at:
- ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
- Caesars Head State Park
- Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge
- Congaree National Park
- Folly Beach County Park
- Fort Sumter National Monument
- Francis Marion National Forest
- Henry Chambers Waterfront Park
- Hunting Island State Park
- Jones Gap State Park
- Roxbury Park
- Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge
The bill combines two conservation proposals that each have strong bipartisan support. The first provides full and permanent funding for LWCF of $900 million each year, the amount the fund is authorized to receive from offshore oil and gas revenues – not tax dollars. The second part of the bill invests $1.9 billion annually for the next five years toward maintenance in national parks and other public lands.
A just-released economic analysis shows that every $1 million invested in LWCF could support between 16.8 and 30.8 jobs. Additionally, research on the impact of LWCF shows that $1 spent generates $4 in economic value from natural resource goods and services alone.
Contact The Nature Conservancy in South Carolina at 801 Gervais Street, Suite 202, Columbia, S.C. 29201 or 803-254-9049.