The Trust for Public Land Applauds Senators for Land and Water Conservation Fund Amendments

The Trust for Public Land today commends U.S Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Tom Udall (D-NM) for offering amendments to restore conservation funding to the federal budget.

During the Senate Appropriations Committee’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior Appropriations Bill, several amendments were offered to add funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee had recommended $292 million, $14 million below last year’s enacted level. The following amendments were offered at full committee today for consideration:

  • Sens. Collins and Daines successfully offered an amendment to add $14 million to LWCF, reversing proposed cuts to the program and restoring funding back to the FY 2015 enacted level of $306 million.
  • Sen. Tester offered an amendment to raise LWCF by $108 million to the full $400 million requested in the President’s Budget, contingent upon a new federal budget agreement.
  • Sen. Udall offered an amendment to raise LWCF by $108 million to the President’s Budget level of $400 million, as well as increase many other natural resource and conservation priorities in the bill, contingent upon a new federal budget agreement.

We applaud U.S. Senators Collins, Daines, Udall, and Tester for standing up for the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Kathy DeCoster, Vice President of the Trust for Public Land. “We thank them for their leadership and their show of support for this critical program that protects our parks, forests, rivers, and refuges, secures working forests, and provides close to home recreation, and hunting and fishing access that all Americans enjoy.

“These and other efforts demonstrate the overwhelming support from Senate leaders in both parties to see LWCF reauthorized and fully funded, even as the LWCF shortfall in the bill highlights the need to restore honest budgeting to LWCF. Congress continues to raid the LWCF trust fund, with more than 70 percent of LWCF dollars diverted for unrelated spending year after year,” added DeCoster.

LWCF, which uses no taxpayer dollars, is funded by offshore oil and gas lease fees. Its purpose is to set aside a small fraction of the revenues derived from the use of offshore resources that belong to the American people for projects to preserve natural resources elsewhere. Over its nearly 50 years, LWCF has helped conserve parks, wildlife refuges, working forests, rivers, trails, historic and cultural sites, fishing and hunting access, and other important federal, state, and local public lands.