WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2018) – The Open Space Institute (OSI) today joined together with fellow members of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Coalition, a partnership of leading environmental and open space advocates, in expressing appreciation for the increase in LWCF funding included in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The expanded funding represents a win for conservation. The bipartisan legislation increases spending for the LWCF to $425 million in FY18, a $25 million increase from previous-year levels. The bill contains additional funding for a wildlife conservation account previously derived from LWCF, bringing the effective total to $436 million in land conservation spending.
The funding agreement means that many critical on-the-ground conservation and recreational access projects will receive funding from America’s most important conservation program this year. More importantly, the agreement represents a bipartisan rejection of the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate funding for the LWCF.
“OSI commends those dedicated policy makers in the House and Senate who led the charge to support the LWCF,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “Achieving dedicated funding for America’s most important conservation program is critical for the men and women nationwide who depend on our outdoors for their livelihoods, clean drinking water, a better quality of life, and countless other benefits.”
Though pleased with the funding increase, Elliman expressed concern that the victory could be short-lived; since reauthorization of the LWCF was not included in the bill, the current authorization for LWCF is set to expire on September 30, putting the program at risk unless Congress acts to save it from extinction.
“I am confident that the coalition will, again, join forces and make compelling arguments that the LWCF and all the good it accomplishes for our nation needs to be saved for future generations,” said Elliman.