Coalition Applauds Senate Support for Dedicated Conservation Funding
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition (LWCF Coalition) today praised bipartisan action taken by the U.S. Senate to provide dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). An overwhelming majority of Senators supported an amendment to the transportation bill that would provide $1.4 billion in dedicated funding for LWCF over the next two years, and would reauthorize LWCF through 2022.
"This is a huge victory for conservation, and for the economic benefits that outdoor recreation brings to communities in all 50 states," said Bill Meadows, President of The Wilderness Society. "For years, Congress has diverted LWCF funds for other purposes. Today's 76 - 22 vote in the Senate shows that Senators of both parties understand the need for dependable LWCF funding, and the link between healthy lands and a healthy American economy."
"We are especially grateful to Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Max Baucus (D-MT) for sponsoring and shepherding this amendment through the Senate today" said Will Rogers, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. "We are also grateful to the 72 other Senators from both sides of the aisle who voted to support this amendment. These Senators listened to their constituents today. This victory would not have been possible without the many hunters, anglers, hikers and other Americans who have tirelessly advocated for LWCF for the benefits it brings to outdoor recreation and tourism."
LWCF is used to conserve parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers, trails, historic and cultural sites, playgrounds and other important local, state, and national parklands in every state in the nation. For nearly 50 years, LWCF has helped to protect land in 98% of U.S. counties for public access and enjoyment, and supported millions of American jobs in the outdoor recreation and tourism industries.
LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, funds for LWCF come from a small portion of offshore oil and gas leasing revenues that are set aside each year to support conservation and recreation projects. Although the fund is authorized to receive up to $900 million per year, Congress has routinely diverted LWCF funds for other uses.
Conservation, recreation, and historic preservation together generate more than $1 trillion in total economic activity across the U.S., and support 9.4 million jobs, according to a recent study conducted for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Southwick Associates, Inc., of Fernandina Beach, FL.
A full list of senators that voted in favor of the amendment is available here.
The U.S. House of Representatives will need to pass its own transportation bill or a version of the Senate bill before the bill becomes law. The House version of the bill does not currently include a provision to fund LWCF.
The LWCF Coalition comprises conservation, recreation, business, and sportsmen's groups working together to support the LWCF program in order to meet America's conservation and recreation needs in the 21st century. For more information on LWCF and the places in each state that have been protected using LWCF funds, visit www.lwcfcoalition.org.