(CBS4) – Colorado’s economy and its environment will receive a huge boost thanks in large part to Sen. Cory Gardner. At Gardner’s urging, President Donald Trump said recently he will sign a bill that injects $900 million into the Land and Water Conservation Fund and directs $1 billion a year into maintenance of American national parks.

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs.

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a rally on Feb. 20 in Colorado Springs. (credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

The conservation fund was created in 1965 to funnel royalties from offshore drilling into conservation projects.

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Congress has never appropriated all of that money until now.

Gardner has been fighting for the program’s funding since he became a U.S. senator.

“One of the very first votes I took when I came into the Senate was a vote against a Republican chairman because I thought it hurt the Land and Water Conservation Fund bill and Sen. Michael Bennet actually was so worried about me taking that vote that he came over to check on me to make sure that I was doing okay,” Gardner told CBS4. “Here we are 6 years later, we now have a fully funded continual, perpetual Land and Water Conservation Fund. We’re going to take care of a huge part of our maintenance backlog at our national parks. It’s going to be good for Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Sand Dunes (National Park and Preserve), Mesa Verde National Park.”

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“This is going to be good for our Forest Service. It’s going to be good for conservation across the four corners of our state. I am really excited about this.”

Republican Senate President Mitch McConnell said he will fast track the measure in the Senate.

Conservation groups are celebrating the news, calling the funding historic.

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