Bipartisan Cooperation Leads to Conservation Victories in Omnibus Spending Bill
ARLINGTON, VA. | March 23, 2018
The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from President and CEO Mark R. Tercek regarding the FY2018 omnibus spending bill, which was passed by Congress early today:
“Republicans and Democrats found common ground today when they passed a spending bill that invests in important conservation initiatives that will protect America’s lands and waters. We are grateful for the efforts of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who worked together to achieve this victory for conservation. Thank you to the congressional leaders and conservation champions whose bipartisan cooperation made this possible.
“The bill’s much-needed comprehensive solution to the wildfire funding problem is a significant win for our nation’s forests and communities. The federal government will now be able to use disaster relief dollars to pay for fighting catastrophic wildfires, which will fund wildfire suppression like other natural disasters. This will free up federal agencies to spend more of their budgets on programs that make forests healthier and less fire prone, ultimately protecting people and property across the U.S.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund receives $425 million—a $25 million increase—under the spending bill. This higher level of funding will allow the program to better protect natural areas and recreation sites in nearly every county in America.
“The spending package reauthorizes the broadly supported Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, which expired in 2011. This program allows the Bureau of Land Management to sell certain parcels to pay for purchasing higher-priority conservation lands.
“Many other programs that conserve our nation’s lands and waters received increased funding under the bill. And lawmakers chose not to include several provisions that would have undermined environmental protections. We appreciate Congress’ decision to invest in conservation to benefit people and nature.
“The passage of today’s spending bill demonstrates that bipartisan cooperation can lead to significant progress for conservation in America.”
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.