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Source: United States Senator for West Virginia Joe Manchin

September 18, 2019

Washington, DC – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, called on the leaders of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to include full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the fiscal year 2020 funding agreement. Ranking Member Manchin was joined by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

This letter follows Congress’ successful passage of permanent reauthorization for the LWCF in February. In April, Senator Manchin introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to permanently fund the LWCF at a level of $900 million per year, using existing funds already set aside since the LWCF’s inception. 

“As you work to enact legislation that will address Federal funding needs for fiscal year 2020 and beyond, we urge you to seize the opportunity for including a bipartisan win for future generations—full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (‘LWCF’). This investment would protect and conserve our national parks and public lands, support the nation’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and finally fulfill the original promise of the LWCF,” the Senators said in part.

September 3rd was the 55th anniversary of the LWCF being signed into law. LWCF funds land acquisition at the federal, state and local levels for conservation and recreation. In West Virginia alone, LWCF has provided more than $243 million to finance more than 500 state and federal projects.

Read the full letter below or click here. 

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

As you work to enact legislation that will address Federal funding needs for fiscal year 2020 and beyond, we urge you to seize the opportunity for including a bipartisan win for future generations—full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (“LWCF”). This investment would protect and conserve our national parks and public lands, support the nation’s $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and finally fulfill the original promise of the LWCF.

Addressing this priority at this time makes fiscal sense. First enacted in 1964, Congress created the LWCF so that America’s conservation and recreation priorities would be funded through revenues generated from oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf, among other activities—not taxpayer funds. Since then, this program has protected and expanded access for conservation and recreation in all 50 states.   Congress took a very important step this year when it permanently reauthorized the LWCF at $900 million per year. However, the LWCF has reached a funding level of $900 million only twice in its nearly-55 year-history—this despite federal revenues from offshore energy development well in excess of $900 million annually.  The dedicated LWCF fund within the U.S. Treasury has collected approximately $40.9 billion during its lifespan, with appropriations of only $18.9 billion during the same time period. The time has come to match permanent authorization with permanent funding—as envisioned in 1964—to ensure much-needed investment in our public lands and continuity for the state, tribal, and non-federal partners who depend on them.

We strongly urge Congressional leaders to seize the historic opportunity and enact legislation to accomplish this longstanding priority in the 116th Congress.  We look forward to working with you as you begin consideration of funding for fiscal year 2020 and beyond.

MIL OSI USA News