Senate Plan To Invest In Land Conservation Praised

August 1, 2013

The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, today praised a Senate proposal to invest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the nation's main program to protect land for American families.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies released a plan earlier Thursday to provide $400 million for LWCF for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

"This is the kind of bipartisan leadership which is good for the American people," said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land. "We realize Congress has to make difficult choices in deciding the budget, but this program doesn't use taxpayer money and it has worked effectively for almost 50 years. The fact that the proposal is in a measure supported by both Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the chairman and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, shows that members of both parties agree on the importance of this program."

"This proposal is in stark contrast to what we recently saw in the House of Representatives, where there is a pending proposal to completely eliminate LWCF for the first time in the history of the program," said Rogers. "That is a short-sighted decision and one which makes no sense."

Rogers also expressed support for the Senate proposal's focus on cities, where 80 per cent of the population lives. The Senate measure would invest $10 million in urban parks. "Making sure more Americans, especially children, have access to close-to-home parks is a wise investment in our future," said Rogers.

Congress is now working on a budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and eventually, the two chambers will have to agree on a single budget number for LWCF. President Obama proposed $600 million for the program.

LWCF, created in 1965, is paid for by oil companies through royalties from offshore oil and gas leases. LWCF also provides money to states for recreation and park enhancements, working forest conservation, and threatened and endangered species habitat protection.

Rogers added, "The Senate is showing true leadership today in reinvesting oil and gas revenues in a successful, bipartisan program that touches all Americans and has done so much to protect our natural and recreational heritage and create close-to-home parks. "The Trust for Public Land and the broad coalition of LWCF supporters will continue to work with Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that LWCF receives adequate funding."

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.