April 20, 2016
The Conservation Fund celebrates today’s passage of legislation in the U.S. Senate that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF); permanently reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA); and reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for five years, among other conservation victories.   

The provisions were included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which passed the Senate on a vote of 85-12. In addition, the Senate voted decisively against the harmful Lankford amendment that would have significantly undermined LWCF’s conservation purpose—the amendment was defeated on a bipartisan vote of 34-63. Another amendment, offered by Senators Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), added many of the positive provisions of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, including FLTFA and NAWCA. It passed 97-0.

The U.S. Senate’s energy package must now be reconciled with the U.S. House of Representatives’ energy bill, which was passed in December 2015, and sent to the president’s desk before the end of this Congress.

“Today, with a bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate voting to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the U.S. Senate demonstrated they have heard the American public loud and clear: ‘protect our public lands!’ From the park down the street to state forests and our unrivaled National Park System, public lands help drive local economies; support hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational pursuits; and protect for perpetuity the historical and cultural lands that tell the story of our nation. And now the Land and Water Conservation Fund will also be there to help protect these lands.

“Additionally, the bill permanently reauthorizes the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, a critical conservation tool for Western lands. We applaud this bipartisan action to advance the permanent authorization of FLTFA, which uses proceeds from strategic federal land sales to protect high priority federal conservation areas that preserve important fish and wildlife habitat, increase recreational opportunities, and protect our nation's special places.  

"The Conservation Fund also applauds the Senate’s bipartisan support for reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which is critical to protect wetland habitats that waterfowl and migratory birds depend upon. As a member of the NAWCA Council, we have seen the significant leveraging of the federal funds on a 1:3 basis with non-federal funds and are keenly aware of the urgent need to protect this disappearing habit type.  The Senate’s renewal of its commitment to this program is important to protecting our ‘Duck Factory’ lands."