DENVER – June is national Great American Outdoors Month, and in celebration Western Energy Alliance today commends the largest financial contributor of federal conservation funding: the oil and natural gas industry. Under the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), the industry provides 94% of the $2.8 billion annually that goes to national parks and public lands. The law was passed in 2020 and built on a 50-year tradition of balancing productive uses of public lands with protection of America’s treasured landscapes. Unfortunately, this immense source of conservation funding is under threat from anti-oil-and-gas policies advanced by the Biden Administration.
“We’re proud to say the nation’s largest conservation programs are funded almost exclusively from revenues generated by oil and natural gas producers on federal lands,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “Back in 2020, we helped get GAOA passed to provide an appropriate balance between responsible energy development on working landscapes while preserving our nation’s iconic landscapes. We care how the government uses the billions of dollars oil and natural gas companies generate annually.”
Recently, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced proposed maintenance and repairs in 2024 funded under GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF) and the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Projects include:
“While we’re pleased to see the backlog of public lands maintenance projects finally receive the attention it deserves, there are significant threats on the horizon. The Department of the Interior and the president are on a path to eliminate the very source of revenue that underwrites conservation programs,” added Sgamma. “By embarking on policies to prohibit oil and natural gas leasing, future administrations will not be able to replicate this good news. At a time when the National Park Service is facing a double-whammy of sky rocketing maintenance costs since President Biden took office and higher red tape, the need has grown from $22 billion a few years ago to $38.2 billion today.”
More details on GAOA and the threats to conservation funding are available in the Alliance’s special report, “Conserving the Great American Outdoors.”
Additional information on projects funded by GAOA since the inception of the law in 2020 is available online.
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