President Obama Signs Gardner-Shaheen Legislation into Law, Requiring Federal Government to Measure Impact of Outdoor Recreation on U.S. Economy
Washington, DC – President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authored by U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to require the federal government to measure the impact of the outdoor recreation on the economy. The bipartisan Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015, introduced in October 2015 by Gardner and Shaheen will inform policy makers and business leaders on the jobs created, and the consumer spending driven by, the outdoor recreation economy. The House companion bill H.R. 4665 was introduced by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). The bill unanimously passed in the House and then the Senate in November.
“Outdoor recreation is a way of life in Colorado and is a major economic driver for many communities across the Centennial state,” said Senator Gardner. “It’s time the federal government measures outdoor recreation’s economic impact and I’m pleased President Obama has signed this bipartisan legislation into law. Policymakers in Washington will now have a powerful tool at their disposal that will benefit all Americans by highlighting the industry’s economic benefits in Colorado and across the United States.”
“I am proud that President Obama has signed this commonsense legislation into law, recognizing the outdoor recreation sector’s important contributions to our economy,” said Senator Shaheen. “In the Granite State, we know that preserving our natural treasures isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also a smart move for state and local economies. Policymakers need to see the full picture of the role that outdoor recreation plays in supporting jobs and economic growth, and craft policy accordingly.”
“This new law will ensure that outdoor recreation is a permanent part of the U.S. GDP and will enable our industry to make the case that preserving public lands and investing in our nation’s recreation infrastructure is a sustainable job creator and economic driver that is a hallmark of American values and ideals,” said Amy Roberts, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association. “We appreciate the leadership of Congress in choosing to prioritize this bill with bipartisan, unanimous support for its passage during a very limited end of year session.”
“This is an exciting time for the outdoor recreation industry, which is such an important part of our local and national economies,” said Jim Pisani, Global President for Timberland, headquartered in Stratham, New Hampshire. “It was great to see the Senate and House come together in support of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act, which was signed into law today by President Obama. We are grateful to Senator Shaheen and Senator Gardner for their leadership in driving this important, bipartisan legislation.”
Until recently, the federal government did not measure the economic impact of outdoor recreation, despite independent estimates that this sector generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 6.1 million jobs. In April, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Federal Recreation Council will work with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the economic contributions of the outdoor recreation industry. The Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2015 ensures that this work continue in the future by requiring it in statute. The bill also requires that the Commerce Department submit a comprehensive analysis to Congress capturing the outdoor recreation sector’s contribution to the economy.
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