Millions urge permanent funding for America’s most successful conservation fund
Conservation Northwest / Sep 25, 2019 / Legislation, Public Lands
This month, together with our partners the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and 50 other NWF state and territorial affiliates—representing more than 6 million members—we sent a letter to Members of Congress urging them to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
We encouraged Congress to quickly pass the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act, (S. 1081, H.R. 3195), to provide permanent full-funding for this critical program. Our Communications Director Chase Gunnell and Executive Director Mitch Friedman also made trips to Washington, D.C. this summer meeting with lawmakers to advocate for LWCF funding.
“We are grateful that in February, Congress overwhelmingly supported permanent reauthorization of LWCF. It is now time to deliver on the full promise and potential of this beloved conservation program to keep outdoor traditions, and fish and wildlife, within reach for future generations. Congress can do that by appropriating $900 million for the program this fall, and expeditiously approving bipartisan bills in the House and Senate that would make this commitment permanent,” said the joint letter.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is built on a simple concept: that we should take revenues of the depletion of one public resource—oil and gas – and use them to pay for the conservation of another resource – our public lands and waters. Since its creation in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has supported over 41,000 state and local parks in every state in the nation. The program helps support a robust outdoor recreation industry, estimated at over a trillion dollars annually, supporting over nine million jobs nationwide.
Each year the Land and Water Conservation Fund is entitled to $900 million from fees on offshore energy development, but Congress rarely approves the use of all of that money to improve America’s parks, trails, and open spaces. Congress only twice in half a century appropriated the full amount. The letter to Congress urged leaders to allocate full funding for LWCF for the next fiscal year, as well as pass the permanent funding bill so the program won’t be short-changed in the future.
Polling has consistently shown strong support for the LWCF. Last year, 73 percent of Washington voters said they wanted to see Congress fully-fund of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
View the full letter below or CLICK HERE FOR A PDF.