WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts commends today’s bipartisan passage of the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act by the U.S. House of Representatives. This package of conservation and economic recovery bills would safeguard public lands and rivers in Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington; ensure access to these places for millions of Americans; restore fish and wildlife habitat; and help to sustain local economies. The House also approved these measures during the last Congress.
Marcia Argust, director of U.S. public lands and rivers conservation work at Pew, issued the following statement:
“Lawmakers from across the political spectrum have found agreement on legislation to help safeguard our public landscapes and aid our nation’s economic recovery. These balanced conservation measures can play an important role in sustaining local communities, and we applaud the House for taking quick action on this package.
“Nationwide, outdoor recreation—from hunting, fishing, and camping to cycling, boating, and more—accounts for $788 billion in annual gross economic output and generates 5.2 million American jobs.
“The measures in this package are supported by business owners, local elected officials, community leaders, veterans, scientists, conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and anglers, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders who recognize the benefits of our public lands and waters. Those benefits include safeguarding sacred landscapes and significant cultural resources, maintaining wildlife habitat and clean water sources, enhancing access to recreational opportunities, and promoting local economies.
“The lands and rivers package would help conserve these places for generations of Americans and protect local communities that depend on visitor spending for their economic livelihoods. By acting quickly on this House-approved package and sending it to President Biden, the Senate can continue to improve access to public lands and rivers, preserve significant public landscapes, and invest in and advance the nation’s economic recovery—all of which are inextricably linked.”