WASHINGTON, DC (July 22, 2020)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) and the conservation community today celebrated historic legislative action that will, for the first time, permanently and fully fund the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is the nation’s most important and effective tool in funding land and clean water protection projects. Funding for the LWCF is contained in the Great American Outdoors Act, which achieved final legislative approval today, when the measure passed the House of Representatives in a vote of 310-107. The bill passed the U.S. Senate in June and now awaits presidential approval.
Passage of the measure follows five decades of hard-fought battles, led by the OSI-supported Outdoor America Campaign, to achieve annual full and permanent financial commitment for LWCF, which is funded through revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Under the newly passed legislation, $900 million will be allocated each year to protect America’s natural, recreational and cultural resources, including fresh air, clean water, and scenic landscapes.
Since the inception of the LWCF in 1965, Congress has undergone an annual LWCF appropriations process, to determine funding for federal projects and dollars that go to the state grant programs. Only twice in the history of the LWCF has it received full funding.