Some Republicans see value of fund
To the editor:
The editorial “House GOP out of touch about support for conservation fund” raises important issues about the disconnect between the public’s strong support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and Congress’ failure to fully support the program. The current budget being considered for LWCF is the lowest in the program’s history, at just one-tenth of the $900 million it could receive. The fund doesn’t receive any tax money, so it is difficult to understand why the House is trying to cripple it.
As The Olympian’s editorial so rightly notes, LWCF leverages money from oil and gas drilling for conservation to “balance the benefits of offshore oil drilling with the environmental risks it poses.”
Olympian readers need to know, however, that not all GOP members of the House want to cut LWCF. Here in Washington, Republican Rep. Dave Reichert (8th District) has been a staunch supporter of the fund. He recently cosponsored an amendment that restored $20 million to the fund. Rep. Reichert, the amendment’s chief sponsor Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., and the other members of the GOP who have steadfastly championed LWCF deserve credit for their support.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican from the 3rd District, voted for an amendment this winter to cut funding for LWCF, but we are optimistic that she will see the tremendous value that LWCF projects have brought to her district. We’ll need all of their commitment to LWCF when the budget debate resumes on Capitol Hill in September.
JOANNA GRIST; Executive Director, Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition