Interior says parks maintenance fund will go to 165 projects, support 19K jobs this year

Interior says parks maintenance fund will go to 165 projects, support 19K jobs this year
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The Interior Department said Friday that it will create nearly 19,000 jobs through improvement projects in national parks, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Indian Education schools through funding allocated last year from a bipartisan conservation bill. 

According to a statement issued by the department, this year will see a $1.6 billion investment in 165 deferred maintenance projects that will improve recreation facilities, historic structures, roads, trails, bridges and more. 

The department said this will support about 18,851 jobs and add $2 billion to the country’s gross domestic product this year. 

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“Through the Great American Outdoors Act, we are investing in the American people, and in the future of our public lands and sacred spaces,” Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Haaland calls for attention for slain Indigenous women amid Petito case Haaland calls for 'balance' in federal oil and gas program MORE said in a statement on Friday. 

“We must address the long-delayed maintenance needs of the nation’s aging buildings and infrastructure. Importantly, this funding also honors our commitment to Tribal communities by investing in Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools for current and future generations,” Haaland added.  

The first major investment will be of $3 million to restore the Jefferson Memorial’s exterior in Washington, D.C., including using lasers to remove algae, fungi and bacteria. 

The Great American Outdoors Act provided up to $1.6 billion annually for five years for the fund being used for the improvement projects. 

It also permanently allocated $900 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps the federal government acquire new land for parks and trails and works to protect sensitive forest and endangered species habitat.

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE had previously proposed removing significant funding from the LWCF but later supported the bill after meeting with Republican senators.