December 28, 2011 — The Open Space Institute is very pleased to report that last week Congress passed the omnibus spending bill, which authorized the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $322 million for FY2012, a 7 percent funding increase over last year. With an additional $28 million in Title 6 money designated for conservation, the LWCF will be funded next year at a grand total of $350 million.
This represents a significant increase over recent years, and in fact funds the LWCF at nearly $22 million over its 2011 total.
The passage of the omnibus bill capped off a topsy-turvy 2011 for conservation spending. At the beginning of the year, President Obama sought full $900 million funding of the LWCF for only the third time in its 48-year history as he introduced his America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative. Yet, weeks later, members of the House of Representatives proposed pulling nearly all LWCF funding during budget talks.
At a time when government at all levels is cutting back environmental spending, the final 2012 LWCF appropriation is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the hard work of OSI’s Outdoors American Campaign, which worked year-round urging lawmakers to increase federal funding for conservation.
OSI and its partners will continue this important work in 2012, as we move closer to full funding for the LWCF. President Obama pledged that a $900 million LWCF would become a reality by 2014, and OSI believes that’s a promise that should be kept.