LWCF set to expire on September 30th if Congress fails to act
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined dozens of her colleagues to call on Senate leaders to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a conservation and recreation program established 50 years ago. Since its creation in 1965, it has become one of the most successful tools for protecting our nation’s outdoor heritage for future generations. The LWCF, funded by oil and gas revenues, has put more than $637 million into Washington projects, including the protection of more than 120,000 acres of land and the creation or enhancement of hundreds of recreation facilities.
“As a nation, we have a duty to protect and preserve our natural resources for future generations, and the LWCF is one of the best tools we have,” Senator Murray said. “I am calling on my colleagues to consider permanent reauthorization in the coming days, so the fund continues to protect what so many Washington state families hold dear.”
The full letter can be found below.
September 17, 2015
Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:
Fifty years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act of 1964 established America’s most successful conservation and recreation program. The Fund was designed to assure that outdoor recreation lands would be secured, on a pay-as-you-go basis, for future generations. As we mark this anniversary, the expiration of this critical investment tool on September 30 is quickly approaching. We write to express our strong support for LWCF, to ask your help in ensuring that the program’s authorization does not lapse, and to urge that its permanent reauthorization be included in legislation to be enacted this session.
Investments in LWCF support public land conservation and ensure access to the outdoors for all Americans, in rural communities and cities alike. It has created outdoor recreation opportunities in every state and 98 percent of counties across the country, opening up key areas for hunting, fishing, and other recreational access; supporting working forests and ranches; acquiring inholdings and protecting critical lands in national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, Civil War battlefields, and other federal areas; and making additions and improvements to state and local parks and recreation facilities.
Permanent authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF will help ensure that the Fund plays the strongest possible role in revitalizing local communities. America's outdoor recreation, conservation, and preservation economies contribute over $1 trillion to the nation's economy each year and support 9.4 million American jobs, this is one out of every 15 jobs in the U.S. Support for public lands among the American public remains consistently and overwhelmingly strong.
The LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars, and instead, funds are primarily derived from oil and gas receipts paid to the federal government by energy companies that extract publicly-owned resources from the Outer Continental Shelf. Congress created LWCF as a bipartisan promise to return precious resources back to the American public by using these funds specifically for conservation and recreation purposes. Despite its history of underfunding, LWCF remains the premier federal program to conserve our nation's land, water, historic, and recreation heritage.
We urge the inclusion of a short-term reauthorization of the LWCF in the coming days before the program expires on September 30, and seek your commitment to work with us to achieve permanent authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF in any legislation poised to become law this year. We must act quickly to renew this program, and we look forward to working with you toward that end.
In addition to Senator Murray, signees include: Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (D-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).