Congress Loses Sight of Conservation with Farm Bill, LWCF Expirations
Programs underpinning country’s public and private conservation efforts lapse.
The following is a statement by Lynn Scarlett, chief policy officer at The Nature Conservancy, following the expiration of the current Farm Bill as well as the Land and Water Conservation Fund on Sept. 30.
“Today's expiration of the Farm Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) puts the future of two of America’s best conservation tools in jeopardy.
“The Farm Bill is the most important legislation for conserving private lands in the United States, providing farmers, foresters and ranchers with tools to protect their lands and their way of life. Meanwhile, LWCF has conserved public lands and waters for more than 50 years at no cost to the American taxpayer, expanding public access to lakes and streams, building local parks and trails, conserving working forests and protecting national park landscapes. Investing billions into these efforts, the Farm Bill and LWCF have had an indisputable and lasting positive impact on the American landscape.
“Together, they represent a tremendous portion of our country’s commitment to conservation—a commitment that benefits us all through the long-term health of our vital lands and waters, communities and economy. By allowing them to expire, Congress has sent the wrong and risky message that conservation is not a top priority, even while pressures on our resources continue to grow. Without either, the funding to protect parks, farmlands, forests, waterways and other places becomes uncertain, stalling the long-term planning needed to prevent losing these places forever.
“As lawmakers spend the next several weeks in their home states and districts, they have the opportunity to see first-hand the important role conservation plays in their communities. I hope that will help them recommit to supporting conservation when they return to Washington. In the meantime, the rest of us have the opportunity to use our voices and our power as constituents to let our representatives know we’re counting on them to renew LWCF and pass a new Farm Bill with strong conservation programs as quickly as possible.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.