On October 2, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on legislation that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Although Congress was unable to pass a reauthorization bill for the LCWF before its funding expired on September 30, the authority to carry out the program does not expire. The proposed legislation, called the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act (S. 569), seeks to provide consistent and reliable authority for and funding of the LCWF.
On September 12, 2018, the House passed the Every Kid Outdoors Act (H.R. 3186) to provide fourth grade students and accompanying individuals with free access to federally managed public lands and waters, including historic sites such as national parks. Introduced by Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA-3), H.R. 3186 codifies the already-existing “Every Kid in a Park” initiative launched in 2015 by President Barack Obama under the Department of the Interior.
In late June, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT-1) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-3) introduced bills in each chamber to address the backlog of maintenance at U.S. national parks via a new funding program. S. 3172 and H.R. 6510 are nearly identical to address the $11.6 billion backlog.