The Senate has taken up a bill that would create a dedicated fund to address deferred maintenance projects in the National Park Service and other public lands agencies including the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education.
That would be done by designating up to $1.9 billion a year from revenues to the government from the development of oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy on federal lands and waters. The White House would have to produce annual reports on the use of the funds and GAO would also provide oversight.
Sponsors say the agencies collectively have some $12 billion in deferred maintenance including needed repairs to visitors centers, roads, sewage systems, roofs, trails, and more. While maintenance money is appropriated annually, they say, the amounts are insufficient and a dedicated source of funding is needed to address the backlog.
They added that the bill has widespread bipartisan support in the Senate and the backing of numerous outdoors-oriented organizations. The provisions were added as an amendment to a bill (HR-1957) passed earlier by the House.