WASHINGTON, DC (March 13, 2019)—Today the Open Space Institute (OSI) and the conservation community celebrate the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). In an historic victory for public lands and recreation, the president signed the sweeping public lands package into law. The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House (363-62) and the Senate (92-8) last month, is the most critically important piece of legislation in protecting America’s natural, recreational and cultural resources.
“The iconic Land and Water Conservation Fund is imperative for making sure our children and grandchildren have access to fresh water, clean air and the landscapes and resources we enjoy today,” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO of OSI. “We commend the U.S. Representatives in the House and Senate who voted in support of the bill, and all the people who have worked to save this critical program affecting so many American lives.”
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 and will continue an annual LWCF appropriations process, to determine funding for federal projects and dollars that go to the state grant programs.