February 26, 2019 What’s being billed as the most sweeping piece of conservation legislation in more than a decade will provide Tennessee millions of dollars for land and aquatic conservation after overwhelmingly passing the House Tuesday evening.
The Natural Resources Management Act bundles more than 100 individual land bills and re-authorizes the lapsed Land and Water Conservation Fund. That fund is the highlight of the act, according to lawmakers, and has provided more than $200 million in conservation to Tennessee since it went into effect in the 1960s. The fund lapsed in September and became the focus of the nearly 700-page measure that is headed for the president’s approval.
"This comprehensive legislation will preserve and protect the special places that make the great state of Tennessee a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and provide for a robust tourism industry," Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said in a statement. "East Tennesseans have incredible access to world-class outdoor recreation, whether that be a hike through the Cherokee National Forest or a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and my vote for the package was a vote of support for these special places."
The far-reaching legislation provides provisions for nearly every state. Those provisions were sponsored by 50 senators and co-sponsored by nearly 90 in the last Congress. They have undergone public review in the House, Senate or both, and the majority have passed one chamber, according to a Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources overview.
The package primarily provides opportunity for natural resources and community development in the Western U.S. for areas with limited local conservation opportunities, according to the overview. It addresses a litany of topics including land transfers, wilderness area, historic sites, wildland fire operations, a national volcano early warning and monitoring system, search-and recovery-missions, and more.
The House passed the bill with a strong showing of bipartisan support, 363-62. The Senate bill passed Feb. 12, with a vote of 92-8. The act was supported by all Tennessee congressmen except […]