Wildlife Refuge, protected in part by LWCF.
New Jersey's Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, protected in part by LWCF. © Erika Nortemann/TNC

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House Proposal Would Fully Fund Land and Water Conservation Fund

Joins Senate proposal to fully fund federal conservation program

Arlington, Va.

House lawmakers today introduced legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and make that funding mandatory.

Established in 1964, LWCF has protected national parks, saved wetlands, built trails and expanded outdoor recreation opportunities in every state in the country. Rather than use taxpayer dollars, LWCF is funded through offshore oil and natural gas royalties.

The legislation would dedicate $900 million in offshore oil and natural gas royalties to LWCF annually, the full amount the program is authorized to receive by law. The $900 million would automatically go to LWCF rather than having lawmakers decide how much LWCF should get as a part of the annual appropriations process, a process that for decades has underfunded the program.

The bill matches bipartisan legislation introduced in the Senate in April. In February, the Senate and House passed a sweeping public lands bill that permanently reauthorized LWCF after it expired last year.

The following is a statement by Kameran Onley, director of U.S. government relations at The Nature Conservancy:

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America's most successful conservation program, helping protect national parks, conserve watersheds and create new outdoor recreation opportunities for communities. But that success has always been hampered by low and inconsistent funding for LWCF. These bills in the House and Senate will change that.

“Congress delivered a major win for conservation earlier this year when it permanently reauthorized LWCF, and it can deliver another win by ensuring LWCF will have full and dedicated funding. We look forward to working with lawmakers to make sure LWCF has the funding it needs to continue conserving our treasured natural landscapes for generations to come.”

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.