Thursday, December 20, 2018

Congress Failed To Reauthorize Federal Land And Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Senate passed a measure December 19 to keep the federal government funded until February, but failed to include a public lands package that would have reauthorized the Land and Water Conservation Fund in that bill.
It was the final opportunity to renew LWCF, which expired in September, before the end of the year.
The following is a statement from Kameran Onley, director of U.S. Government Relations at The Nature Conservancy:
“What a disappointing way for Congress to end its session, when it had a clear way to simply allow Land and Water Conservation Fund renewal to be included in final votes for the year. LWCF has a long track record of success, strong bipartisan support and champions from a broad range of businesses, landowners, conservation organizations and state and local officials.
“Renewing the program had obviously enough support to pass—if it had just been allowed to receive a vote before the clock ran out. Now, Congress will continue to force our nation to go without its leading conservation program for the longest time since it was created 53 years ago.
“LWCF doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. While it is expired, it can no longer receive funding that was always intended to balance the use of one public resource, oil and gas drilling revenues, by conserving others.
“Denying that fundamental principle and risking our ability to conserve some of our nation’s most valued places was the wrong choice. For the benefit of our families, economy and lands and waters, Congress must make renewing this program one of its first priorities in its new session next year.
“If there is a bright spot here, it is the inspiring and tremendous efforts of LWCF’s champions in the [U.S.] Senate in recent days to try everything they could to renew the program.
“We’re grateful they were able to secure an agreement to address these important public lands issues early next year. We stand ready to support that urgent and critical effort however we can.”
Pennsylvania Impact
The PA Environmental Council issued this statement on the failure of Congress to act--
“Congress has missed its last opportunity in 2018 to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a landmark conservation and recreation program that has funded projects throughout Pennsylvania and across the nation since it began in 1965.
“Despite strong bipartisan support, including from the Pennsylvania delegation, the Continuing Resolution passed by the Senate this week did not include LWCF.
“To date, Congress has already left nearly $200 million – more than $2 million per day – on the table; money that would have been made available to communities to build and enhance public recreational opportunities, and to help protect our most unique and threatened historic and natural areas.
“LWCF is funded through leasing revenues from offshore oil and gas development; its benefits, available to everyone, are not paid for by the taxpayers. So many of Pennsylvania’s iconic and most treasured areas – the Appalachian Trail, the Flight 93 Memorial, the Greater Allegheny Passage, to name just a few – all have been made possible by LWCF.
“And that doesn’t even include the hundreds of local parks and recreational facilities in almost every county in Pennsylvania that were supported by the fund.
“These spaces are a fundamental part of Pennsylvania’s identity and heritage. They support a tremendous sector of our economy – one that generates billions of dollars in public revenue, and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“When the new Congress reconvenes in January, our representatives must make LWCF reauthorization a top priority in their first 100 days.
“Each day without permanent reauthorization is a lost opportunity for the people and communities of Pennsylvania.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided more than $309 million in funding to support projects in Pennsylvania like public park development and land conservation in counties and municipalities across the state.
To learn more about the Fund, visit the Save The Land & Water Conservation Fund website.
Related Stories:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner