nation’s premiere program to help local communities protect the places they
love, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), is on the line in Congress
right now. After 50 years as one of our country’s most successful programs,
LWCF needs to be reauthorized by Congress before September 30 of this year or
we will lose it forever.
The LWCF doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime, reduces parks
maintenance costs, protects our water quality, provides access to outdoor
recreation, and helps drive our economy. This
is why numerous elected officials on both sides of the aisle call LWCF one of
the dollar-for-dollar most effective government programs in America.
Our representatives have shown strong bipartisan leadership in fighting to preserve LWCF.
Representative Reichert of Washington’s 8th District is an original
co-sponsor of HR1814 to permanently reauthorize LWCF, and Senator Cantwell is
co-sponsoring S-890 to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program. On
April 22, Earth Day, the Senate
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held the first hearing on LWCF, with
strong testimony in favor being given by both Republican and Democrat members
of the committee, including Senator Cantwell.
“We should remember on Earth Day that the
Earth is lasting much longer than us, and the question is what good stewardship
we are providing in the meantime,” said Cantwell. “This iconic program that has
helped to protect many of our nation’s iconic and most popular national parks,
forests and public lands is, I think, a treasure in itself.”
despite the strong bipartisan support behind it, and the 88% of Americans who want
Congress to preserve LWCF, reauthorizing LWCF for future generations will be an
uphill battle. D.C. is facing a highly charged political climate with many opponents
of public lands, and there have even been some Senate efforts to close our
parks and sell off large portions of our public land to private interests.
Washington state has strong leaders like Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Reichert who are
working hard in D.C. to secure the future of LWCF. With your support, we are
also working hard to help our newer Reps. Herrera-Beutler and Newhouse
understand the wide-reaching importance of LWCF and our public lands for the
future of our natural heritage, quality of life, and economy here in Washington.
Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR via Flickr