Manchin Joins President Trump At Signing Of Bipartisan Public Lands Bill
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Joe Manchin (D-WV) attended the White House’s Presidential bill-signing ceremony at which President Trump signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act into law. The legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, designates the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area and increases the funding cap for the Wheeling National Heritage Area. It passed the U.S. Senate with a vote of 92-8 on February 12th and passed the U.S. House of Representatives with a vote of 363-62 on February 26th.
“I was proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle at the White House today as President Trump signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act into law. This legislation is an important reminder that, when we work in a bipartisan way, the American people come out on top. This bipartisan package permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund which has had immeasurable impacts on West Virginia. It also designates the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area and increases the funding cap for the Wheeling National Heritage Area. In our state, we have been blessed with beautiful lands and our love of the outdoors is core to who we are as West Virginians. I am proud this legislation will expand access and protect these lands for future generations to enjoy,” Senator Manchin said.
LWCF is a conservation tool that ensures states and federal public land management agencies are able to protect and conserve our natural resources without relying on taxpayer dollars. In West Virginia, LWCF funded the acquisitions of the Gauley River National Recreation Area, New River Gorge National River and Dolly Sods. Since 1965, more than $243 million in LWCF funds have been spent in West Virginia on more than 500 projects, both on state and federal lands. This includes improvements to local parks and public spaces in 54 of West Virginia’s 55 counties.
National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area has been operating as an ad hoc NHA for more than a decade. By providing the official NHA designation, the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area has earned the national recognition it deserves, and is now also eligible for grants and technical assistance from the National Park Service. This will take its programmatic efforts and other services it provides to the region to the next level.
The legislation also increases the funding cap for the Wheeling National Heritage Area in Wheeling. By increasing the funding cap, the Wheeling National Heritage Area can continue to compete for grant money from the National Park Service. Since its establishment in 2001, the Wheeling National Heritage Area has received approximately $12 million in funds and will reach its cap of $13 million in the next two years. According to a 2017 economic impact study, the Wheeling National Heritage Area generates $86.6 million in economic impacts in the Wheeling region. This includes support for 1,109 jobs and $6.4 million in tax revenue. By providing a modest cap increase, the Wheeling National Heritage Area can continue its vital role as an economic driver in West Virginia.
The Natural Resources Management Act also:
- Adds over 621 miles of rivers to the National Wild & Scenic Rivers System
- Adds over 2,600 miles of new trails to the National Trails System
- Designates 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas
- Increases the size of our National Parks by over 42,000 acres
- Provides direction to all federal departments and agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting, fishing and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands
Next Article Previous Article