Washington, DC — Permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund will ensure the landmark program can invest in local parks, trails, public lands and outdoor spaces for generations to come. The National Wildlife Federation heralded new legislation from U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) today that would accomplish this important bipartisan goal.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has connected millions of Americans with unrivaled outdoor experiences and conserved essential wildlife habitat across the nation for the past half century. Its permanent reauthorization was an important first step, but fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential next step to keep nature and wildlife within reach for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This bipartisan legislation deserves swift consideration and passage.”
“West Virginia’s outdoor heritage and recreation economy have thrived thanks, in part, to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This legislation ensures this important program will continue to invest in West Virginia parks, open space and river access for another half century,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund uses fees from offshore oil and gas revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to invest in urban parks, walking and biking trails, wildlife habitat, historic sites, national parks and other open spaces. Despite being authorized to spend $900 million each year, Congress has rarely appropriated the full amount.
The National Wildlife Federation worked closely with Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Senator Clinton Anderson and Representative Wayne Aspinall to create the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1964. It also worked with subsequent Congresses to increase the program’s funding and improve its programmatic impact in 1968, 1970, 1977 and 2015.
The National Wildlife Federation worked as part of a broad bipartisan coalition across the country to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund earlier this year.
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