TPL Applauds Senate Committee Decisions On Land and Water Funding

WASHINGTON D.C., 6/25/2009: The Trust For Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, today praised the Senate Appropriations Committee for its leadership in upholding President Obama’s commitment to restore funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the federal government’s primary program to protect America’s irreplaceable natural, historic, recreational, and other treasured landscapes.

The Committee provides $262 million for federal park and recreation projects through the LWCF, a significant boost of $109.8 million above last year’s enacted levels, as well as substantial new funding for state LWCF grants, the Forest Legacy Program, and other vital conservation accounts. The bill will now go to the full Senate for approval.

Alan Front, TPL Senior Vice President, said “We salute Subcommittee Chairman Senator Dianne Feinstein and Ranking Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, as well as Full Committee Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye and Ranking Republican Senator Thad Cochran for their leadership in putting LWCF back on the right track to safeguard vital lands across America for the public.”

“This appropriations bill is just what America’s parks and open spaces need,” said Front. “The bill keeps with President’s Obama’s commitment to restore funding for the LWCF and provides some real vision, real leadership and real relief for communities where open spaces matter.”

Since 1964, LWCF has added millions of acres to America’s national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, national trails, state and local parks, and other protected lands. In recent years, however, steep declines in annual funding through the program have led to an enormous backlog of priority conservation properties, and to incompatible and often devastating development within these otherwise protected public assets.

Over its 45 year history, LWCF has provided funding to help protect threatened properties and consolidate parks and open spaces across the nation, from the Florida Everglades and Maine’s Rachel Carson Refuge to the national forests of Wisconsin and Minnesota, the spectacular scenery and habitat of the Greater Yellowstone basin, the historic and cultural values of Gettysburg National Military Park and the fragile ecosystems of Washington’s Cascade Mountains and California’s Sierra Nevada. It has also provided matching funds for thousands of state and local recreation projects, including Little League diamonds, youth soccer fields and state parks and forests. The LWCF is primarily funded by the revenues the federal government receives from oil and natural leases off America’s coasts.

The House Appropriations Committee’s version of the bill was approved on June 14th and is slated for immediate floor consideration. The House also increased funding for LWCF over last year’s enacted level.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. TPL has protected more than 2.5 million acres across the country.