Following Senate introduction of similar legislation, bipartisan bill acknowledges
strong public support to fully fund successful access and conservation program
WASHINGTON – New bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives would ensure full, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and acknowledges strong support by citizens, including public lands sportsmen and women, for the successful access and conservation program. Introduced by Reps. Jefferson Van Drew (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and a diverse lineup of original co-sponsors, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would dedicate $900 million annually from offshore oil and gas revenues to LWCF.
Companion to a Senate bill introduced in April, the House measure would make LWCF funding mandatory at $900 million annually, its current authorized funding level. While LWCF was permanently reauthorized under the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act (S. 47), which was signed by the president in March, funding for the program remains subject to the federal appropriations process. LWCF dollars are frequently diverted to other uses. The House bill emphasizes LWCF’s requirements to fund public access for hunting, fishing, shooting and other outdoor recreational activities.
Land Tawney, BHA president and CEO, stated that “the moment has arrived” for full, dedicated LWCF funding.
“We applaud our House leaders who heeded the will of the American citizenry and took the right step to ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund can continue to establish publicly accessible recreation sites and conserve important public lands and waters – in perpetuity,” Tawney said.
“We have raised our voices loudly in support of conservation and public access, and Congress is listening,” continued Tawney. “Earlier this year, the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of LWCF’s permanent reauthorization. The moment has arrived for full, dedicated LWCF funding. As Jerry Maguire says: ‘Show me the money!’ This bill and its companion in the Senate get the job done.”
Congress typically appropriates LWCF at $425 million, close to half of its authorized levels. However, the House Appropriations Committee recently passed a spending bill that increased the program’s allocated amount to $524 million. In the program’s 50-plus year history, more than $22 billion in LWCF funds have been redirected to other uses. Nevertheless, since its establishment in 1964, LWCF has become a conservation success story, providing access to millions of acres of public lands, all without spending a single penny of taxpayer funds.
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