By Mark Zakutansky
After allowing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire on September 30, 2018, all eyes have been on Congress as AMC and our partners mounted the #SaveLWCF campaign to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and to secure full and dedicated funding for the program. On Tuesday, February 26th, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in support of a package of public lands bills including the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This vote comes on the heels of the Senate’s passage of the identical package of bills on February 12th, now sending S.47, the Natural Resources Management Act, to the president’s desk for his expected signature.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a national conservation program that uses revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling to support open space, park, and trail projects across the country. Many national and state parks, scenic trails like the Appalachian Trail, battlefields, and working forests have been conserved with LWCF funds.
During the #SaveLWCF campaign, AMC volunteers hosted trips to places protected by LWCF and thousands of AMC supporters made calls and sent messages to their elected officials.
However, reauthorization for LWCF is only one part of the story. While it is a major victory for LWCF to be permanently reauthorized, these projects cannot be completed without adequate funding. LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million from Congress each year; however, it consistently receives less than half of that amount through the appropriations process. For LWCF to be as efficient, impactful, and successful as possible, Congress must dedicate the full $900 million of oil and gas revenue authorized to LWCF.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives today to thank them for their support of LWCF and the outdoors that you love, and make sure they know how much the Land and Water Conservation Fund continues to mean to you. Stay tuned to AMC’s Conservation Action Network for future opportunities to speak up in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other important conservation policy issues.