Keeping our quality of life | Reichert’s position sound public policy —

Keeping our quality of life | Reichert’s position sound public policy

By Kristen Greenlaw
OPINION: Bellevue Reporter

As a Realtor, every week I meet people who are drawn to this area by our community parks, beautiful mountains and cool, clean bodies of water. I see firsthand how investing in our playgrounds, trails for biking and hiking, boat ramps and athletic fields strengthens our local economy.

Many of those investments would not be possible without help from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is an innovative federal program funded by offshore oil and gas fees – not taxpayer dollars – to protect natural resources around the country.

Known for protecting iconic areas like Mount Rainier, the Mountains to Sound Greenway/I-90 Corridor and other recreational treasures, LWCF also provides states with matching grants for state and local parks. From Mercer Slough to Crossroads Community Park and Newcastle Beach Park, LWCF has made key local park projects in Bellevue possible.

Unfortunately, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee has approved legislation that would slash funding for LWCF by 80 percent. This cut would cripple the ability of the LWCF to continue making a difference in our state.

Given this attack on the LWCF, we are fortunate that Rep. Dave Reichert understands the connection between protecting natural areas and safeguarding our state’s economy. Rep. Reichert co-sponsored and helped pass an amendment to increase LWCF funding by $20 million – an important first step in restoring funding for this important program.

We have seen time and again that protecting wildlife habitat and natural areas, investing in state, local, and national parks and trails, and providing water access increases the value of nearby homes. Increased property values benefit both property owners and local governments.

As our urban areas accommodate new employment and housing opportunities, LWCF funding is critically important for protecting our unique natural resources and enhancing the quality of life for our families. Nearby natural areas and community parks are important to give kids a place to play and to give families and neighbors a place for recreation and mingling.

It is essential that we protect the natural beauty that makes Washington a great place to live. Rep. Reichert understands that protecting our quality of life is good for communities and good for businesses. Congressman Reichert’s position on LWCF funding represents sound public policy. I hope other members of Congress will follow his lead in funding LWCF.

Kristen Greenlaw is the president of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors.

Read the complete story at OPINION: Bellevue Reporter
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