Cory Gardner

09/17/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/17/2019 14:34

Gardner, Bennet Call on Congressional Leadership to Enact Full, Permanent Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund

Washington, D.C. - Today, Colorado U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R) and Michael Bennet (D) joined a group of bipartisan senators in calling on the leaders of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to include full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the fiscal year 2020 funding agreement. This letter follows Congress' successful passage of permanent reauthorization for the LWCF in February, and the subsequent introduction of bipartisan legislation in the Senate to permanently fund the LWCF at a level of $900 million.

September 3rd was the 55th anniversary of the LWCF being signed into law.

'As you work to enact legislation that will address Federal funding needs for fiscal year 2020 and beyond, we urge you to seize the opportunity for including a bipartisan win for future generations-full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund ('LWCF'). This investment would protect and conserve our national parks and public lands, support the nation's $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and finally fulfill the original promise of the LWCF,' wrote the senators.

'We strongly urge Congressional leaders to seize the historic opportunity and enact legislation to this longstanding priority in the 116th Congress,' wrote the senators. 'We look forward to working with you as you begin consideration of funding for fiscal year 2020 and beyond.'

While working to secure permanent reauthorization of LWCF in February, Bennet and Gardner cosponsored legislation and called on Senate leadership to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program. Last summer the senators also published an op-ed calling for permanent LWCF reauthorization and full funding.

In addition to Bennet and Gardner, signatories include U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Burr (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

The full letter can be found below and here.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader McCarthy:

As you work to enact legislation that will address Federal funding needs for fiscal year 2020 and beyond, we urge you to seize the opportunity for including a bipartisan win for future generations-full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund ('LWCF'). This investment would protect and conserve our national parks and public lands, support the nation's $887 billion outdoor recreation economy, and finally fulfill the original promise of the LWCF.

Addressing this priority at this time makes fiscal sense. First enacted in 1964, Congress created the LWCF so that America's conservation and recreation priorities would be funded through revenues generated from oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf, among other activities-not taxpayer funds. Since then, this program has protected and expanded access for conservation and recreation in all 50 states. Congress took a very important step this year when it permanently reauthorized the LWCF at $900 million per year. However, the LWCF has reached a funding level of $900 million only twice in its nearly-55 year-history-this despite federal revenues from offshore energy development well in excess of $900 million annually. The dedicated LWCF fund within the U.S. Treasury has collected approximately $40.9 billion during its lifespan, with appropriations of only $18.9 billion during the same time period. The time has come to match permanent authorization with permanent funding-as envisioned in 1964-to ensure much-needed investment in our public lands and continuity for the state, tribal, and non-federal partners who depend on them.

We strongly urge Congressional leaders to seize the historic opportunity and enact legislation to accomplish this longstanding priority in the 116th Congress. We look forward to working with you as you begin consideration of funding for fiscal year 2020 and beyond.

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