WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — For decades our nation’s national parks have been a major concern for lawmakers, but the senate is set to vote on a bill that has been years in the making.
“This is the most significant piece of environmental legislation in at least a generation,” Virginia Senator Mark Warner said.
After years of work, Warner and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin say the Great American Outdoors Act is a few steps away from restoring the country’s national parks.
“People have been thinking about this and talking about this for 10-20-30 or more years,” Manchin said.
Monday, the senate agreed to take up the bill, without adding any amendments.
“If we would’ve put amendments on, that would’ve signaled to the house of representatives that ‘hey, the Senate went and put amendments on, why can’t we?’ and before you know it, you got a bill that’s loaded up that can’t carry its own law,” Manchin said.
The bill tackles the $12 billion maintenance backlog at national parks around the country and adds $900 million to protect other land and water resources throughout the U.S.
“If we’re going to honor our commitment to our kids and our grandkids, then we want to make sure we preserve our history,” Warner said.
The bill has support from both sides of the aisle.
“Every state in the Union receives support through the Great American Outdoor Act,” Colorado Senator Cory Gardner said.
Warner believes this bill will not only help restore our parks, but boost the nation’s economy.
“Working on that reconstruction will add over 100,000 jobs to our economy,” Warner said.
President Trump has already expressed his support of the bill and Warner and Manchin expect parks to start seeing improvements as early as this fall.