It’s time for Congress to realize the great potential of this beloved conservation program
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Land and Water Conservation Fund moved one step closer to achieving permanent, full funding today with Representative Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) introducing a bipartisan and long-overdue bill to ensure the landmark program is funded at the level Congress intended when it was created in 1965.
"Earlier this year, Congress took the important step of permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but now it’s time for Congress to realize the great potential of this beloved conservation program by fully funding it," said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. "It’s time to stop the shameful practice of diverting the money to other programs instead of investing in the parks, trails and public spaces that keep nature and wildlife within reach for future generations.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund — which receives money from offshore oil revenues, at no cost to taxpayers — is authorized to receive up to $900 million dollars each year, but Congress has almost never invested in the program at this level. Only twice in its 54 year history has the Land and Water Conservation Fund program received its full funding from Congress.
This year, the House Appropriations Committee managed to allocate $524 million, a 20 percent increase over last year. But that number falls far short from the $900 million the fund is due and demonstrates why Congress should pass a bill now that guarantees full funding.
Since 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has created and supported nearly 42,000 projects in every county in the United States, ranging from national, state and local parks, wildlife refuges, hiking and biking trails. The program, which has always enjoyed strong bi-partisan support, also funds programs that protect drinking water resources, habitat for fish and wildlife and provides money for recreation facilities, such as parks and ball fields.
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