The Nature Conservancy Praises Bipartisan Bill to Permanently Renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund
ARLINGTON, VA | April 07, 2017
U.S. Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C, and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced a bill today to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the nation’s premier conservation program. A bipartisan group of original cosponsors includes Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.
A broad coalition of conservation groups, recreation organizations and outdoor industry businesses praised the measure. The move comes a week after more than 200 Republicans and Democrats in the House signed a letter encouraging strong bipartisan funding for LWCF.
“This is an effort with strong support across political and regional boundaries. We all want our kids, grandkids and beyond to enjoy the natural and cultural resources that LWCF benefits, as well as the outdoor recreation opportunities it provides in both urban and rural areas,” said Tom Cors, director of lands at The Nature Conservancy. “We are committed to making sure the Land and Water Conservation Fund is around for generations to come. This legislation provides a clear path for reaching that goal.”
LWCF supports the conservation and protection of America’s irreplaceable natural, historic, cultural and outdoor landmarks. Over its more than 50-year history, LWCF has helped protect land at some of America’s most iconic and popular places in every state in the nation. These include national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and cultural and historical landmarks that millions enjoy each year. In addition, LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars; rather, it uses a small portion of the profits from offshore oil and gas development.
The program also includes grants for forest and wildlife protection as well as grants to support state and local parks, which create jobs, bring tourist activity and help communities attract employers. The Outdoor Industry Association has found that outdoor recreation and public lands drive $646 billion in direct consumer spending and 6.1 million sustainable, American jobs.
Despite strong bipartisan support for the program and a long track record of success, LWCF is scheduled to expire at the end of 2018.
“Senators Burr and Bennet have shown tremendous leadership on this critical conservation issue for many years, and we’re grateful they will continue to be such strong champions for LWCF,” added Cors. “We look forward to working with Congress on passing this legislation before the program expires at the end of next year.”
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.