Americans “Short-changed” Even as Congress Invests $495 Million in Conservation Fund
House and Senate negotiators announced today they would allocate $495 million next year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This represents a $57 million increase from last year and is the highest level of funding since 2004, but is far short of the $900 million the fund is entitled to receive annually.
“While we appreciate epic efforts by Congressional leaders to increase funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund from last year’s budget, the sad fact remains that Americans are being short-changed,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, associate vice president for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “This is why it is critical that Congress passes the permanent full funding bill that has received such strong bipartisan support in Senate and House committees. We look forward to its final passage in the new year.”
For more than five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has created and supported local, state and national parks, hiking and biking trails, waterfront access and wildlife refuges across the country. Designed as way to help protect public lands and wildlife while encouraging Americans to connect with nature, the fund has been wildly successful in supporting projects in nearly every county in the United States.
The fund is entitled to receive $900 million a year from offshore oil revenues – at no cost to taxpayers. Unfortunately, only twice in the fund’s history has Congress ever allocated the full amount. Earlier this year, Congress permanently reauthorized this important fund. Now Congress must keep its promise to Americans and vote for permanent and full funding so LWCF will be allowed to reach its full promise for the nation.
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