Legislation introduced to fully fund LWCF

 

November 24, 2009

 

 

From National Recreation & Park Association

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Read more about the LWCF Stateside Assistance program

The "Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009" (S. 2747) would provide $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced the legislation to permanently fund the program without having to seek annual appropriations. It would provide $450 million annually to states and local communities for trails, parks, and outdoor recreation facilities, with an additional $450 million to the four federal land management agencies for national parks, forests, refuge acquisitions for land protection and conservation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created in 1965, and in 1977 Congress authorized $900 million for land conservation. The fund generates $900 million in royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling each year, but Congress has often diverted the money for other purposes. In 2009, the LWCF Fund received $300 million for conservation, the largest allocation in recent years. The "stateside" funding, which provides grants to local park and trail projects, has typically been funded at only a fraction of the allocations to federal projects.

"Protecting special places and landscapes for the common good has always been a great American idea that we have exported to the rest of the world. By protecting natural systems, we're protecting human health as well as the economy by providing clean water, clean air, livable coastal areas and the quality of life that is so important to all Americans," Bingaman said.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and a broad coalition of conservation and recreation organizations support S. 2747, and have pledged to work toward generating further public support for the bill.

“We are seeing significant support of close-to-home parks and outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Stacey Pine, chief government affairs officer for NRPA. “Local bond issues for parks and recreation pass over 64 percent percent of the time. New Jersey just elected a conservative tax-cutting governor and at the same time approved a $400 million bond for state and local parks, conservation and historic preservation.”

Let your members of Congress know how much you care about the LWCF and the special places that it protects such as parks, refuges, trails, cultural and historic places, public lands, and access to close to home recreation areas in your community. Read the briefing paper with key message points on the Land and Water Conservation Fund to bring up while you meet with legislators.

For more information on NRPA’s legislative initiatives, contact spine@nrpa.org

To learn more about the National Recreation & Park Association, please visit http://www.nrpa.org/

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