U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is the next member of the Wyoming delegation to face a bill to permanently fund a program that brought $23 million to Wyoming schools in 2016, a bill her Senate colleagues opposed.
The Great American Outdoors Act would permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, from which $900 million would be dispensed annually. That fund has brought $132 million of federal oil and gas revenues to Wyoming over the course of 55 years. In a separate provision, the act also sets up five years of funding — $6.5 billion — for a backlog of national park maintenance.
The bill passed the Senate 73-25 on June 17 despite no votes from Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso. They and other opponents worry that the bill gives Washington too much authority and increases the national debt, among other things. The U.S. House expects to address the bill this summer and President Trump has tweeted that he will sign it.
Barrasso and Enzi’s votes were “disappointing,” John Garder, the National Parks Conservation Association’s senior director of budget and appropriations, told WyoFile. “Given the outstanding values of national parks in Wyoming and the disrepair in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and the other park units in the state, we hope Congresswoman Cheney will recognize the importance of this bill and vote in support.”
Cheney’s office has not responded to WyoFile regarding her position on the Great American Outdoors Act. The Republican has revealed some of her thinking on similar legislation, however, voting against two conservation funding bills in 2019 that came before the House Committee on Natural Resources. Her no vote during the committee’s passage of the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act came in a lopsided 36-2 vote that advanced the measure. Now apparently sidelined, it would have provided park maintenance funding.
Cheney also voted against the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, which passed the committee 21-13.
See full story online at WyoFile.com.