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:
S.338: Bipartisan legislation providing for full and dedicated funding of LWCF was introduced on February 14th, 2013 in the U.S. Senate. Similar bipartisan legislation garnered 30 cosponsors in the 112th Congress and 26 cosponsors in the 111th Congress. Click here for the S.338 factsheet.
Senate Budget Resolution: On March 23, the Senate passed S.Con.Res.8, the FY2014 Budget Resolution. Included in this budget blueprint was a reserve fund for full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Transportation bill: In March 2012, an amendment that provided LWCF with $700 million annually for each of the next two years passed the Senate with a large, bipartisan majority of 76 votes. The amendment was included in S. 1813, the transportation reauthorizaion bill (known as “MAP-21”). Despite substantial support in the House, the LWCF provision was not included in the final version of the bill negotiated in conference between the House and Senate.
LWCF appropriations levels reached a recent high of approximately $450 million in FY2010, though this is only half LWCF’s authorized amount. The most recent appropriation in FY2013 was more than 30 percent lower than in FY2010.
Dear Colleague Letters: Dear Colleague letters in support of LWCF in the FY2013 appropriations process were circulated in the House and Senate. The House version had 151 signers, including 12 Republicans, and the Senate version had 43 signers, including 5 Republicans.
Bass/Tipton amendments: During floor consideration of the FY2012 Interior Appropriations bill on July 26, 2011, an amendment increasing LWCF by $20 M and an amendment increasing the Forest Legacy Program by $5 M both passed by voice vote. The amendments were offered by Reps. Bass (R-NH) and Tipton (R-CO).
In November 2012, 49 Senators (8 Republicans) signed a letter to the Majority and Minority Leaders urging a permanent fix for LWCF in the lame duck session of the 112th Congress.
Two Dear Colleague letters were written to House Leadership in regards to LWCF in the transportation bill, one signed by 146 Democratic Members in May 2012, and one signed by 32 Republican Members in June 2012. 147 House Members (15 Rs) also signed a letter in December 2011 urging protecting of LWCF from any effort to raid its funding source to pay for transportation infrastructure.