President Donald Trump has signed into law the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act. The new law honours John D. Dingell, the nation’s longest-serving Congress member, who died last month at 92.

“John would have been so proud to see Democrats and Republicans come together to sign into law a landmark public lands bill to conserve and protect America’s wild plants, fish, animals, and their habitats,” Debbie Dingell wrote on Facebook. “Smiles and tears all at once.”

The White House described it as a bipartisan package of more than 100 public lands, natural resources and water bills, the result of months of negotiations, providing federal protections to millions of acres of federal lands. It also includes a permanent reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, something for which John Dingell advocated during his time in office.

The late John D. Dingell

Included in the package are designations for 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and protections for more than one-million acres of public lands from future mining operations, including a sensitive area at the gateway of Yellowstone National Park.

“LWCF funding has protected some of this country’s most treasured natural resources, while creating jobs, supporting local economies, and providing countless opportunities for recreation,” Debbie Dingell said in a statement last week. “Since 1965, LWCF has provided over $3.9 billion for over 40,000 projects in every county across the country with every $1 invested returning $4 in economic value.”

Debbie Dingell said her late husband’s life was driven by his love of hunting and fishing, his passion for the outdoors and protecting the nation’s natural resources. Had he never been a park ranger as a young man, she said, he might never have run for Congress.

The provisions in the new law honoring him will safeguard the nation’s conservation legacy for decades to come, she said.

Patagonia on the New Act

“The signing of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act is an important moment in the conservation movement,” said Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia.

“The debate over the protection of public lands has shifted from discussion about the pros and cons, to members of Congress from both parties uniting to protect wild places. This legislation supports outdoor recreation in every county in the country through the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, protects millions of acres and creates four new national monuments.

“The preservation of America’s public lands and waters is not only one of the greatest gifts we can leave for future generations, it is also a critical step toward tackling the climate crisis head-on before it’s too late.”

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