Rep. Sherrill Leads Passage of Landmark Conservation Bill

The Great American Outdoors Act will Help Protect New Jersey’s Open Spaces for Generations to Come

Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) today led passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (H.R. 1957), bipartisan legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks and other land management agencies.

Representative Sherrill spoke on the floor in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act during debate this afternoon.

“The Great American Outdoors Act is landmark conservation legislation to protect our public lands, including right here in New Jersey,” said Representative Mikie Sherrill. “Treasures like the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Morristown National Historical Park have already benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and this legislation ensures full and permanent funding so that our open spaces are preserved for future generations of New Jerseyans. I’m incredibly proud to carry on the long history of conservation in the 11th District and lead this historic investment in America’s public lands. I thank every resident and group in our community who worked alongside us to champion this legislation.”

“With today’s passage of this bill, we’re one step away from putting a lock and key on funding that has always been intended for conservation projects -- yet consistently diverted to other purposes. The Great American Outdoors Act embraces what we all know to be true: protecting and enhancing our public lands is an essential part of the American ethos,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “We applaud the House’s bipartisan passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, and the ongoing bipartisan leadership of Rep. Sherrill. She has worked to bring together a bipartisan consensus to protect something that we all value as Americans – our great outdoors. We urge the President to sign this bill into law as soon as possible.”

“Great Swamp Watershed Association is grateful that the Great American Outdoors Act has passed both houses of Congress and we are so appreciative of Congresswoman Sherrill’s advocacy on behalf of the legislation and on behalf of our environment. The pandemic has reinforced our need for open space and safe places to recreate. Our national parks and national wildlife refuges are truly national treasures and this legislation will provide crucial funding for their support,” said Sally Rubin, Executive Director, Great Swamp Watershed Association.

"We are thrilled at the passing of the Great American Outdoors Act and applaud Congresswoman Sherrill's commitment to this important legislation,” said Zachary Cole, New Jersey Highlands Coalition. “Protecting people's opportunity to recreate outdoors, supporting the maintenance of our beautiful parks system, and funding future conservation projects is more important than ever at this time. The NJ Highlands is the principal source of water for over 6.2 million New Jersey residents - more than 70% of the state's population.”

“Passing the Great American Outdoors Act is an historic victory for our national parks and public lands,” said Joel Pannell, associate director of Sierra Club’s Outdoors for All campaign. “Investing in park projects and public lands at all levels will begin to address the lack of access to the outdoors too many communities continue to face after years of injustice. By finally fulfilling the promise of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Congress is taking an important step to protect our public lands and waters, invest in close-to-home park access, and provide a boost for the economies of gateway communities when they need it most. We are pleased to celebrate today’s vote with Rep. Sherrill.”

“Today, we the people made history,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney. “Together, we made good on a promise from 1964, permanently dedicating the revenues intended for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and made an overdue investment in some of our most critical fish and wildlife habitat. The Great American Outdoors Act is a momentous achievement in the name of our most prized American landscapes and outdoors legacy. It’s a once in a generation piece of conservation and public access legislation that will have impacts for generations to come.”

Representative Sherrill led the House introduction of the GAOA alongside author Representative Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), TJ Cox (D-CA), John Katko (R-NY), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Kendra Horn (D-OK), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Jared Golden (D-ME), and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE).

Representative Sherrill is the Chairwoman of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.