Tuesday, February 26, 2019

U.S. House Votes To Permanently Reauthorize Federal Land & Water Conservation Fund

On February 26, The Nature Conservancy reported the U.S. House of Representatives voted moved to save the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), approving a sweeping package of public lands bills that includes a measure to permanently reauthorize the program for the first time in its 54-year-history.
The package, approved by the U.S. Senate earlier this month with near-unanimous support, puts an end to the cycle of expiration and renewal LWCF has suffered in recent years.
The package now goes to the president for his expected signature.
The Fund expired in September, prompting a bipartisan group of lawmakers to push for permanent reauthorization. The package also includes provisions to protect thousands of acres of wilderness and support endangered species recovery in the Colorado River.
The following is a statement by Mark R. Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy:
“For too long, LWCF has been stuck in a cycle of uncertainty that limited its potential. Today’s vote changes that. This is an extraordinary victory for conservation in the United States.
“As one of the country’s most effective conservation programs, LWCF has helped protect national parks, expand trails and playing fields, and preserve important landscapes for over half a century.
“By using the revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling, LWCF invests in lands and waters at no cost to the American taxpayer, so it should be no surprise that a strong majority wants to continue this win-win for people and conservation. Regardless of party, nature unites us all.
“Ultimately, LWCF is about preserving the best of America by protecting our lands and waters, our wildlife and ways of life. The overwhelmingly bipartisan votes in the House and Senate to renew LWCF reflect our nation’s longstanding commitment to conservation, ensuring future generations will benefit from LWCF.
“We are grateful for LWCF’s champions in the Congress, all whom have worked hard to achieve permanent reauthorization, and we look forward to the President signing this measure into law.”
The National Wildlife Federation provided this list of other provisions in the bill--
-- WILD Act to conserve endangered species, combat invasive species (including Asian carp) and fight poaching;
-- Reauthorizes Neotropical Migratory Bird Act;
-- Allows the transport bows through national parks;
-- Adopts the policy that federal public lands will be open hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless deemed otherwise closed for specific reasons;
-- Requires studying and identifying federal lands that could be opened to hunting, fishing and recreation activities;
-- Facilitates the construction and expansion of public target ranges, including ranges on Federal land managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management; and
-- Designates new wilderness, wild and scenic river, steelhead management area, and desert conservation areas.
Click Here for more information on the package from the National Wildlife Federation.
For more on the impact of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Pennsylvania, visit the PA Environmental Council website.
Visit The Nature Conservancy-PA webpage to learn more about programs, initiatives and events in Pennsylvania.

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