DENVER – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Richard Burr (R-NC), along with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, today reintroduced legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which protects and promotes access to America's parks, rivers, forests, and public lands. The group is calling for renewal of LWCF with increased urgency following Congress’ failure to reauthorize the program in September 2018.
“For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped protect Colorado’s iconic landscapes, expand outdoor recreation activities, and boost our local economy,” said Bennet. “Failing to reauthorize LWCF is an affront to future generations who rely on this conservation program to access public lands. We must permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program immediately.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund may cost taxpayers nothing, but Congress’ failure to renew it would cost us all dearly,” said Burr. “Without this program, every state in the country would lose out on valuable outdoor recreation projects, beautiful natural landscapes, and easy access to state and national parks. It’s been four months since LWCF was allowed to expire despite its proven track record of success and overwhelming bipartisan support. It is long past time for Congress do the right thing by renewing America’s most successful conservation program.”
Bennet is an outspoken supporter of LWCF and a leader in the call for permanent reauthorization and full funding of the program. In 2015, he pushed for permanent reauthorization, yet Congress passed a short-term extension leading to the program’s expiration on September 30, 2018.
The LWCF has supported more than 42,000 state and local projects in communities across the country. The program is funded by a portion of federal oil and gas royalties, operating without any taxpayer funding. However, since its founding in 1965, more than $21 billion has been diverted from the LWCF trust fund to other purposes.
U.S. Senators Angus King (I-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Bennet and Burr in reintroducing the legislation.
The bill text is available here.