Senate panel eyes vote on parks funding bills after key deadline

Senate panel eyes vote on parks funding bills after key deadline
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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is likely to vote on a bill to renew a key funding program for parks, but not until after the program’s authority lapses.

A spokesman for Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellOvernight Energy: Supreme Court reinstates fast-track pipeline permit except for Keystone XL | Judge declines to reverse Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget MORE (Wash.), the panel’s top Democrat, said lawmakers are hoping for a Tuesday meeting to vote on Cantwell’s bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

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Tuesday would mark two days after the last law to authorize the LWCF expires. After Sunday, the program can still make payments, but the money collected from offshore oil and natural gas drillers that would usually go into the fund instead goes to general government funding.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSixth GOP senator unlikely to attend Republican convention Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump backs another T stimulus, urges governors to reopen schools MORE (R-Alaska), the committee’s chairwoman, said only that it is hoping for a Tuesday markup “that involves a variety of lands bills,” but would not specify the bills.

The committee has not sent out a formal notice of its planned meeting, a necessary step in advance of the markup.

The fund takes a portion of the revenue the government gets from offshore drilling, and puts it toward federal, state and local park, recreation and conservation projects.

Conservationists, congressional Democrats and some Republicans have made an all-out push in recent weeks to get the LWCF renewed. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Biden campaign adds staff in three battleground states Exclusive investigation on the coronavirus pandemic: Where was Congress? MORE (R-N.C.) has held up unrelated legislation in order to see the program's renewal.

Senators are likely to vote on Cantwell’s LWCF renewal legislation, which would authorize the program indefinitely. It would also require that 1.5 percent of the money paid from the fund go to increasing access to public land by hunters, anglers and other recreation purposes.

The House Natural Resources Committee passed a bipartisan bill this month to indefinitely reauthorize LWCF. It would require that at least 40 percent of the money go to state projects and 40 percent to federal, as well as 3 percent to recreation access.

The Senate Energy Committee is also likely to vote on the Restore Our Parks Act from Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Romney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention MORE (R-Ohio) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerGOP chairman vows to protect whistleblowers following Vindman retirement over 'bullying' Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Va.), which would create a new parks fund from the revenue from energy production on federal land and offshore.

The fund would use half of the energy revenue that isn’t dedicated toward other sources, and would go toward addressing the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog on National Park Service land.