WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 12, 2019)—The nation’s most effective tool in protecting critical water resources and preserving America’s natural, recreational and cultural resources has passed a vital step in receiving permanent reauthorization.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“This is a historic step forward to permanently saving the nation’s most important conservation program,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute (OSI). “We commend the dedicated policymakers in the Senate leading the charge to protect the Land and Water Conservation Program. Americans depend on the LWCF as our nation’s land conservation funding stream; permanent funding would be critical for those who depend on the outdoors for their livelihoods, as well as for clean drinking water, a better quality of life, and countless other benefits.”
New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand also voted in support of the bill.
Within New York, the LWCF has been responsible for protecting or enhancing many of the state’s most cherished historic and outdoors offerings, including the Saratoga Battlefield National Historical Park, Sterling Forest State Park, and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site.
On a national scale, the LWCF is America’s most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local levels. For over 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational construction and activities and the continued historic preservation our nation’s iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast.
LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars – it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 7.6 million jobs.
Since the inception of the LWCF, Congress has undergone an annual LWCF appropriations process, to determine funding for federal projects and dollars that go to the state grant programs.