February 12, 2019

Critical Conservation Program—“LWCF”—On Its Way to Being Permanently Authorized After Passing the Senate with Overwhelming Majority

Media Statement by Larry Selzer, President and CEO, The Conservation Fund 

“The Conservation Fund applauds today’s Senate passage of the public lands package (S. 47) that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This momentous action could not come soon enough, as LWCF expired on September 30, 2018, and has been losing $2.5 million a day ever since.

“We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to similarly enact LWCF legislation and send it to the President’s desk. We also urge future congressional action to provide full, dedicated funding for LWCF to maintain its longstanding commitment to all Americans and continue this essential funding for 21st century America.

“As originally designed by Congress in 1965, LWCF reinvests offshore energy revenues in conservation and recreation access projects—supporting nine different programs for federal, state and local projects. Every day Americans explore, enjoy, relax in, recreate on, and at the very least pass by places that have been protected and enhanced by the Land and Water Conservation Fund—from iconic landscapes like the Grand Canyon and the Smoky Mountains, to the community park down the street and the private farms and forests we nurture.

“The Conservation Fund has helped advance numerous LWCF projects. Most recently, The Conservation Fund’s efforts have supported:

  • the state of North Carolina in creating a new Headwaters State Forest using LWCF funding through the federal Forest Legacy Program;
  • the U.S. Forest Service’s protection of critical habitat in the Cherokee National Forest that spans the Southern Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee; and
  • the protection of a nationally-acclaimed river stretch within the Bureau of Land Management’s North Platte River Special Recreation Management Area, which is an economic engine in Wyoming.

“LWCF is a tremendously successful program that provides unmatched economic, environmental, social, cultural and historical value to Americans. LWCF is also an important tool for reducing the threat of wildfire, supporting local economies, and improving the management of our public lands.

“However we cannot lose sight of the critical waterways, wild habitats, historic sites and working lands that are under pressure and threatened by conversion. Our natural infrastructure supports the basic and essential everyday needs of all Americans, like clean water and air, and it provides billions of dollars in economic revenue to the states through outdoor recreation, tourism and other uses.

“When we lose a stream, a forest, a prairie or even a farm, we lose an entire ecosystem and the valuable natural resources it supports.

“The Conservation Fund joins a broad coalition of veterans, children, sportsmen and women, businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, mayors, forest companies, family health organizations and a vast majority of Americans in supporting the permanent reauthorization and full funding of the bipartisan LWCF as it was intended. It is an investment that can and must continue to benefit America’s communities, the environment and the economy for generations to come.”

About The Conservation Fund

At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land. 

Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org