For Talking Points on the LWCF in the Larger Federal Budget Context, please click HERE
Highlights of Interior’s economic contributions to key economic sectors in 2011
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) coalition is working together to promote full and dedicated funding of LWCF. Every year, we educate and engage Congress and the White House to ensure adequate funding to LWCF through the appropriations process. Unfortunately, since 1965 when LWCF was created, Congress has not kept the promise of funding LWCF at the authorized level of $900 million annually. Legislation is needed to ensure dedicated funding of LWCF at its authorized level to conserve our nation’s treasured lands and waters, and to ensure that all Americans have access to quality parks and recreation opportunities.
Current action in Washington:
Full funding for The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) bill has been reintroduced in the Senate as of June 23rd, 2011. The bill,S. 1265, Sponsored by Senator Jeff Bingman (D-NM), amends the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 to provide consistent and reliable authority for, and for the funding of, the land and water conservation fund to maximize the effectiveness of the fund for future generations, and for other purposes. The only change from the 2009 LWCF Full funding bill, S. 2747, is the sportsmen's provision which passed the House last year (In the CLEAR Act) and was included in Majority Leader Harry Reid's energy bill, S. 3663, in August of last year.
The Federal Appropriations Process: Every year, the White House proposes and Congress funds a new budget for nearly all federal agencies and programs. Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund depends on this appropriations process for annual federal land acquisition needs, and local park and recreation grants, and coalition members actively work toward increasing funds provided by Congress for LWCF every year.
Check out the GREEN BUDGET an environmental document recomending $900 million investment from offshore drilling revenues in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to protect hunting and fishing access, provide outdoor recreation, and strengthen local economies.
The White House: While campaigning for president, candidate Obama pledged to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In April 2010, the Administration hosted a conference on America's Great Outdoors to support conservation and reconnect Americans to the outdoors. The LWCF Coalition is actively working with the Administration to ensure that full, dedicated funding of LWCF is part of this important agenda. America's Great Outdoors Final Report (pp 9-13)
America’s Great Outdoors
The 2012 Budget recognizes the importance of America's Great Outdoors to America’s economy, competitiveness, and health. Under the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO), Interior will play a leading role in developing and implementing this partnership to restore and protect the health, heritage, natural resources, social and economic value of the Nation’s most significant ecosystems and provide greater public access to these natural areas. The 2012 Budget calls for a landmark investment of $5.5 billion for Interior's AGO programs and requests full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) land acquisition and grant conservation programs.
To support the America's Great Outdoors initiative, the Administration's Budget request for both Interior and the U.S. Forest Service totals $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the full amount of revenue generated each year from oil and gas development that is dedicated for land acquisition and conservation. Interior's 2012 Budget includes $375.0 million for Federal land acquisition, $200 million for an expanded LWCF State grants program including competitive grants, and $100 million for Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Grants. As part of the 2012 development process, the Department leveraged the activities of Interior’s bureaus and the Forest Service to coordinate land acquisition and conservation strategies to maximize conservation outcomes in geographic focal areas.
As part of the AGO initiative, the 2012 Budget maintains $4.6 billion for core operations in the land management bureaus -- National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The 2012 Budget also includes $150.0 million for Fish and Wildlife conservation grants and $72.4 million for National Park Service partnership programs – increasing historic preservation grants to States and Tribes and local community assistance in the development of trails and waterways in the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program.
Recap of 2010
In the House: On July 30, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3534 the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009 that included a provision for full, dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund within this broader piece of energy legislation.
In the Senate: Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sponsored S.2747 the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act of 2009. This legislation provided full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at the authorized level of $900 million annually. S.2747 now had 26 cosponsors with continued growing support in the Senate for full, dedicated funding of LWCF.
On July 27th, 2010 Majority Leader Harry Reid and others introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Accountability Act (S. 3663), which among other provisions included full and dedicated funding for the LWCF. While the legislation did not make it to the floor for a vote, the support for full and dedicated funding of LWCF remained strong in the Senate.