Before the House and Senate left for recess, two bills were introduced that could drastically alter the future of America’s public lands.
The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has altered its original proposal that would have zeroed out the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but the new bill would only fund LWCF at $20 million. It’s enough to keep the lights on, but it does not address the growing need for protection of our forests and rivers in Washington and the nation at large.
In contrast, Senate Appropriators released a draft bill that would restore funding for this critical program to the full $400 million appropriation proposed in the President’s budget request.
The Washington delegation continues to be largely supportive of conservation. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) serves on the committee that proposed increased funding for LWCF and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Buetler (R-WA) and Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) have also voiced support for the program.
Washington’s identity and economy are closely tied to the outdoors and the future of LWCF could change that for the better – or worse.
Some of the projects on the line in Washington include:
- Completing the Pacific Crest Trail
- Protecting the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail from development
- Conserving working forests in central Washington and on the Olympic peninsula
While our senators and representatives are back at home, this is a great time to tell them that Washington’s great outdoors are important to you. If you’d like to contact your members, find senators here and representatives here and view our talking points here.
Photo by heystax on flickr