Land and Water Conservation Fund Expired on September 30th
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – one of our country’s most successful outdoor recreation and conservation programs – expired on September 30, 2015. We need Congress to reauthorize funding now. Each day Congress doesn’t act, we lose approximately $2.5 million and deplete our reserve funds to provide conservation protection and recreation programming at the local, state, and federal levels.
Congress is authorized to appropriate up to $900 million a year to LWCF at no expense to taxpayers. Our nation’s natural, historical and cultural landmarks, and the American people who enjoy them, don't deserve to have this popular conservation program politicized.
Every hour that passes, we are losing more than $100,000. As of today, we've already lost:
From backyards to the backcountry, LWCF has conserved iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local outdoor recreation projects such as playgrounds, parks, refuges, and baseball fields. Unlike other programs, LWCF is paid for through a dedicated royalty from energy companies that extract publicly owned resources from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) -- there is no taxpayer money involved.
Congress doesn't have an excuse not to act on renewing LWCF. It has strong bipartisan and bicameral support. The following bills have been introduced in the House and Senate:
- H.R 1814 permanently reauthorizes LWCF, creating a set-aside of 1.5 percent to promote hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. The bill is sponsored by Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Grijalva and has more than 140 bipartisan cosponsors. The Senate companion, S. 338, has 15 cosponsors. Swift enactment of either bill will ensure the future success of America’s most important conservation tool.
- Section 5002 of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, the recently introduced bipartisan Senate energy bill, permanently reauthorizes LWCF. The compromise language is supported by Chairwoman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell.
The following timeline highlights key milestones in the LWCF reauthorization debate:
Ranking Member Grijalva gave an impassioned speech on the House floor on Sept. 16 urging House Republican leaders to reauthorize this popular, bipartisan program. You can watch it below.
For more information on LWCF, visit the Federal Lands page.
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