U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner scored a big win on the conservation front Tuesday by landing the support of President Trump to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund addressing what Gardner's office characterized as a $12 billion backlog for national parks.
Gardner's critics — mostly those seeking to unseat the Republican incumbent in November — have hammered on him for months, saying he was not doing enough to rescue the fund put in peril by Trump's budget-slashing.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted he would support full funding, which comes from oil and gas revenue and credited Gardner and Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who also is facing a tough election year.
"I am calling on Congress to send me a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and restores our National Parks," Trump tweeted Tuesday. "When I sign it into law, it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands. ALL thanks to @SenCoryGardner and @SteveDaines, two GREAT Conservative Leaders!"
Gardner's office said Tuesday he has been meeting with the president to lobby him for support.
“This is a great day for the future of public lands in Colorado and the country," Gardner said in a statement. "I am proud to announce that I have secured the President’s support to provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the maintenance backlog at our national parks."
Gardner was part of a bipartisan effort last year that restored about half the funding for national parks.
“Last year we were successful in permanently reauthorizing the LWCF, the crown jewel of conservation programs, and I have been fighting ever since to make funding permanent," he stated Tuesday. "The LWCF supports projects in Colorado and all across our country at no cost to the taxpayer, and fighting every year to figure out how much money the program will receive doesn’t provide the long-term planning certainty that our outdoor and conservation community deserves.
"I thank the President for his support, and I encourage all my colleagues in Congress to support full and permanent funding of the LWCF so future generations will have access to our great outdoors.”