Letter: Reauthorize funds for conservation —

Letter: Reauthorize funds for conservation

By Peter Anderson
The Columbian

While Congress cuts a deal to keep the government limping along, it will do so without reauthorizing one of America’s best programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For 50 years, this program has benefited Washington state by conserving critical habitat for fish and wildlife, acquiring land and funding development for parks and playgrounds, and providing stewardship and jobs through the promotion of working forests. Beyond these incredible local impacts, the fund also protects our internationally acclaimed destinations such as Mount Rainier, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument.

Because it is funded through revenue generated by offshore oil and gas drilling, it accomplishes all of this without costing taxpayers a dime. Folks in Washington, D.C., can quibble over government spending on programs that aren’t proven to be effective, they can argue about the burden on taxpayers, but when it comes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, there’s no excuse for letting this critical program lapse. As Congress comes out on the other side of this budget deal, they must make reauthorization and full funding of the fund a priority.

Peter Anderson, Ridgefield

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