Congress slow to reauthorize critical conservation fund —

Congress slow to reauthorize critical conservation fund

By Rich Landers

PUBLIC LANDS -- In about 100 days the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund will expire unless Congress moves quickly to reauthorize the program.

The fund provides the base money for timeless conservation and outdoor recreation efforts.

Created in 1964, LWCF has invested more than $600 million dollars in Washington alone, providing grants to hundreds of national, state and local parks, trails, fishing access sites, and recreational facilities, and supporting working forests and family farms.

LWCF takes a portion of royalties energy companies pay the government for extracting publicly owned offshore oil and gas from the Outer Continental Shelf. The government then takes those revenues and reinvests them in the conservation of our public lands and natural resources.

“In Washington state, the LWCF has helped preserve places like the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Chelan, Mount Rainier and Olympic National Parks, and it has improved management of our public lands,” Senator Maria Cantwell, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a media release from the coalition of groups supporting the fund.

“The LWCF is the country’s most successful conservation law, supporting an outdoor economy of more than $600 billion annually and 6 million American jobs. We must reauthorize and fully fund this critical, effective program.”

Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Dave Reichert participated in a conference call Thursday organized by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, which brings together 280 businesses and non-profits, to highlight the importance of LWCF. The congressmen joined Cantwell in calling for lawmakers to reauthorized the fund, which is important to local and regional economies.

  • A recording of the call is available HERE.
Read the complete story at Spokesman-Review
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