SEATTLE—The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition issued a statement on February 17 applauding Rep. Dave Reichert, R-8, for his support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“We thank Rep. Reichert for breaking with his party on a very close vote to stand up for his constituents on an issue of great importance,” said Joanna Grist, executive director of the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition. “The amendment to the continuing resolution would have eliminated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a revenue source for preserving national parks and open spaces. The shortsighted proposal zeroed out funding for the LWCF, including $900,000 for Mount Rainier National Park, an icon to residents of this state.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created by Congress in 1964 to offset the negative consequences of offshore oil drilling by supporting the conservation of natural resources across the country. Revenue for LWCF is derived from royalties paid by oil companies for the privilege of offshore drilling. Unfortunately, since its creation more than 40 years ago, Congress has continually broken its promise to the American people by diverting the funds from their intended use.
In the 2011 America’s Great Outdoor report, released Feb. 16, President Obama recommended that Congress fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund because America isn’t America without the great outdoors. We couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to understand how LWCF works.
LWCF has been chronically underfunded, but never has it been as underfunded as lawmakers propose to make it today. Based on misinformation, or a misunderstanding, within the continuing resolution the House has proposed gutting LWCF — a program that is not funded by taxpayers.
“Rep. Reichert’s vote shows that stewardship of American’s majestic places knows no party,” Grist said. “We thank him for showing real leadership, and hope his colleagues will follow his lead in the future.”