Wyden, Burr, 39 Other Senators Urge Funding Solution for LWCF
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Burr, R-N.C., and a bipartisan coalition of 39 of their Senate colleagues urged Senate leaders Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to work with them to find a permanent funding solution for the Land and Water Conservation Fund before the end of the current Congress on Dec. 31, in a letter sent yesterday.
The LWCF program, which helps ensure access to outdoor recreation areas by providing funding to protect public lands and matching state grants, is set to expire in September 2015. In the 50 years since Congress created the program, the LWCF has helped conserve land for national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness, monuments, and civil war battlefields, and served as a resource for creating and developing state and local parks in all 50 states.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund guarantees a prosperous and vital future for the next generation while preserving our uniquely American way of life across this nation,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, we urge you to enact a permanent and comprehensive solution for this vital program before the 113th Congress adjourns.”
The LWCF is funded almost entirely by oil and gas leasing along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Congress authorized the fund at $900 million through the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30, 2015.
Other senators who signed the letter include: Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., John Walsh, D-Mont., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Tom Udall, D-N.M., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Angus King, I-Maine, Kay Hagan, D-N.C., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Tim Johnson, D-S.D., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Al Franken, D-Minn., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Chris Coons, D-Del., Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Penn., Ed Markey, D-Mass., Mark Pryor, D-Ark., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Mark Udall, D-Colo., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Read the letter here.