Seattle, WA – Over 50 individuals, businesses, and organizations voiced their support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by joining a sign-on letter to urge Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to fund LWCF.
The letter, circulated by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, encourages Washington’s U.S. Senators to continue their support for the LWCF and to oppose any reduction of funding levels in the upcoming long-term continuing resolution.
On February 19th the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, which imposes massive cuts on funding available for LWCF – an 87% cut from FY 2010 levels. This drastic reduction eliminates all funding for the eight proposed projects in Washington State.
According to the sign-on letter, these projects have broad local support, a willing seller, and have been nationally ranked for their recreation and conservation significance in the President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Projects include:
- Lands for Mount Rainier National Park – $856,809
- Ebey’s Landing Historic Reserves – $1 million
- Habitat area for Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – $1.5 million
- Habitat area for Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge – $1.64 million
- Watersheds for Pacific Northwest Streams program – $1.5 million
- Checkerboard additions to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area – $850,000
- Checkerboard additions to the Washington Cascade Ecosystem – $1.5 million
- Working forest project in Mount Saint Helens Forest – $2 million
- Habitat land additions for Willapa National Wildlife Refuge – $1.5 million
In sharp contrast to H.R. 1, the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget reflects a renewed commitment to conservation and recreation seen in the America’s Great Outdoors initiative. It recommends full funding of LWCF at $900 million – a level that has been achieved once in the program’s history.
Created by Congress in 1965, the LWCF is funded from Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas leasing to protect vulnerable and iconic lands while improving outdoor recreation opportunities for every American.