LWCF Campaign for funding in FY 2012
Land and Water Conservation Fund in Fiscal Year 2012 - Funded!
Thanks to the efforts of dedicated advocates in Washington State and across the nation, LWCF emerged from the FY12 process as one of the few environmental victories of the year. Despite a series of attacks, LWCF is a success story.
The year began with a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) to fund the government through April. Throughout this process, supporters of LWCF and our champions were constantly fighting efforts to cut or defund LWCF. An amendment that proposed a virtual elimination of LWCF funding failed by only 3 votes. We appreciate members of our delegation who cast critical votes to save LWCF: Reps Inslee (D-1), Larsen (D-2), Dicks (D-6), McDermott (D-7), Reichert (R-8), and Smith (D-9).
The Coalition focused on gaining support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Authorization and Funding Act of 2011 (S. 1265), a bill to fully and permanently fund the program. Senator Cantwell led the effort as a co-sponsor. The bill continues to gain a growing list of bipartisan support and now stands at 27 co-sponsors.
When the Administration released it's budget for 2012, President Obama became the first president to urge full funding for LWCF at $900 million. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar launched a tour of the US to promote the Administration's vision of theand speak in favor of LWCF.
Despite these efforts, the proposed House budget in July included only $65 million for LWCF, one of the lowest funding levels in history.
Thankfully, our Congressional Delegation stood up for LWCF. Reps Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee spoke up to defend LWCF in the House. Reps Reichert and Inslee joined colleagues to pass amendments to restore $25 million to the program, and sent a letter urging leaders to strengthen funding for the program.
Meanwhile, Coalition members continued to drive the message that investment in our parks, wildlife areas, and working lands is essential to Washington State's economy, jobs, public health and quality of life.
In October, the Senate recommended funding LWCF at $350 million, a substantial $50 million increase over FY 11 and one of the highest proposed increases for federal departments and agencies.
On December 23, President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus Appropriations bill, finally funding LWCF at $322.9 million. Despite the significant focus in Washington on cutting spending, LWCF received a 7 percent increase over last year's levels and the LWCF state grants program got a 12.5 % increase.
The fact that LWCF was funded at $322.9 million instead of the House's original $65 million proposal speaks to the program's strong bipartisan support and record of success. This outcome represents a true conservation success in a Congress that has often presented a false choice between protecting our land, air and water and creating jobs.
The table below summarizes LWCF funding provisions for FY 2012, with a comparison to last year’s levels and the President’s budget proposals:
LWCF Funding Comparison Chart
There are 6 projects in Washington State that are likely to receive funding at this level. While an increase in funding for LWCF is impressive, $322 million is nowhere near the full $900 million in offshore oil and gas lease royalties LWCF should receive every year. As a result, six critical Washington projects went unfunded this year.
Join us to thank our champions for their hard work and encourage our delegation to support funding for LWCF in fiscal year 2013.
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For additional information on the Land and Water Conservation Fund please visit the LWCF Coalition website.