More than 200 House Democrats and Republicans are urging “robust” funding for a major land and water conservation program set to expire in fiscal 2018.
The lawmakers, including 36 Republicans, are asking appropriators to ensure that all the programs under the Land and Water Conservation Fund “receive strong and consistent support in FY 2018 in order to maintain our commitment to conservation and
recreation, as well as to states and local communities.”
Their letter went today to Republican Rep. Ken Calvert of California and Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota, the respective chairman and ranking member of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. ( See attachment below)
LWCF uses nontaxpayer money to preserve and maintain the nation’s parks, forests, recreation areas and cultural sites. Proceeds
from offshore oil and gas drilling primarily pay for LWCF.
“This strong, bipartisan show of support for LWCF is especially notable at a time where we’ve also seen proposals to cut
conservation funding,” Scarlett wrote in an email. “Members of Congress are most in tune with what their constituents want and what is good for their communities.”
In 2015, House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (RUtah) introduced a bill to reform LWCF, which would have maintained
the fund for seven years, created a grant program for localities to build recreational facilities, and limited water and land acquisition,
among several other provisions.
Bishop did not sign on to today’s letter. The panel’s ranking member, Raúl Grijalva (DAriz.), was among the signers.
“The chairman is supportive of the original intent of LWCF, but the program has strayed way beyond its statutory mandate,” Molly Block, spokeswoman for committee Republicans, said.
” In the face of President Trump’s extreme budget proposal that threatens America’s public lands, this show of support makes abundantly clear that Congress must invest in this program as it crafts their FY 2018 budget this year,” the group said in a statement.