Trust For Public Land Statement on LWCF Proposal in Congress
The Trust for Public Land today issued the following statement as Congress prepares to vote on an omnibus budget bill which includes money for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF):
"We are very grateful to the many champions, both Democrats and Republicans, who fought hard to reauthorize the LWCF program this year," said Will Rogers, President of The Trust for Public Land. "In the budget bill which Congress will consider in the next few days, this program has been renewed for another three years, meaning it will continue to deliver the many benefits it has provided to tens of millions of Americans in every state since it was created in 1965."
"This is not the long-term, permanent protection of LWCF that we had hoped for, which America deserves, and which many Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate want, but it is an important short-term step to protecting the most efficient and best conservation and outdoor recreation program in the nation's history," Rogers said.
"LWCF costs the taxpayers nothing since it is paid for by oil and gas revenues we all own jointly. And it invests some of those revenues in providing close-to-home places for Americans to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, from national parks to neighborhood parks," Rogers said.
"In addition, the bill significantly increases LWCF funding, from $306 million last year to $450 million in the current fiscal year for the now-or-never conservation work at the local, state and federal level," Rogers said. "We thank LWCF's advocates on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for this important commitment, which is a step in the right direction towards ending the annual diversion of LWCF funds to non-conservation purposes."
"At the same time, we are surprised that Congress won't permanently reauthorize the program at its annual funding limit of $900 million a year," Rogers said. "If that proposal came up for a straight up-or-down vote on the floor of both the House and Senate, we are confident it would pass with strong support from both Democrats and Republicans. That is the long-term solution we and other LWCF supporters seek and which the country deserves, and we will continue to work toward it in the months ahead."