01.22.15

Bipartisan Group of Senators Look to Permanent Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced Amendment 92 to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which would fully realize LWCF’s promise to conserve parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitat for the benefit of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.

"I have seen firsthand the role that the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays in acquiring land and maintaining North Carolina's reputation as one of the most scenic and unique states in the country," Senator Burr said. “While our efforts to fully fund LWCF are ongoing, today’s amendment seeks to simply reauthorize the program permanently and before it expires at the end of this fiscal year. Our nation’s scenic treasures should not be put into jeopardy on a yearly basis for a simple reauthorization. I hope my colleagues will support us in this effort.”

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a crucial tool that has helped preserve dozens of high-priority landscapes across Colorado,” Bennet said. “LWCF resources help safeguard our state’s natural heritage and drive our outdoor recreation-based economy. This bipartisan amendment will ensure the LWCF continues to be a valuable resource for Colorado’s and the nation’s conservation needs.”

"Preserving New Hampshire's pristine landscape is important to our state’s economy and way of life," said Senator Ayotte. "LWCF has been used to protect thousands of acres in New Hampshire - without using taxpayer dollars. This amendment is a continuation of my efforts to bolster this key conservation program, which has made a real difference in our state."

Rather than using taxpayer money, LWCF receives a small portion - $900 million each year - of the billions of dollars in annual oil and gas royalties gained from exploration on federally owned land and water. By ensuring that royalties dedicated to LWCF are protected, the legislation would foster federal, state, and local conservation investments that boost tourism, expand recreation spending, protect water quality, insulate communities from natural hazards, sustain agriculture and forestry on private lands, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve the quality of life that draws businesses and workers to communities. The program also includes grants to support state and local parks for conserving and developing close-to-home recreation areas and grants for forests and wildlife protection - which create jobs and help communities to attract and keep employers.