(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to reintroduce legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Shaheen, Hassan and Burr, along with a bipartisan group of Senators, are calling for the program’s renewal with increased urgency since its lapse in September 2018.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund plays an important role in strengthening the Granite State’s outdoor recreation economy by preserving our most beautiful and popular tourist sites, including the White Mountain National Forest,” said Shaheen. “Permanently reauthorizing this critical program will provide our national and state agencies with the certainty they need to help protect our wildlife, environment and natural resources for generations to come. There is broad bipartisan support in Congress to invest in measures that ensure continued outdoor access for all Americans, and this bill will help us meet that goal.”
“Protecting our beautiful natural resources is critical to our economy, environment, and high-quality of life, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays a vital role in those efforts,” said Hassan. “I am encouraged that there is strong bipartisan support for reauthorizing this important program, and I’ll keep working across party lines to protect the well-being of our communities and environment.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund may cost taxpayers nothing, but Congress’ failure to renew it would cost us all dearly,” said Burr. “Without this program, every state in the country would lose out on valuable outdoor recreation projects, beautiful natural landscapes, and easy access to state and national parks. It’s been four months since LWCF was allowed to expire despite its proven track record of success and overwhelming bipartisan support. It is long past time for Congress do the right thing by renewing America’s most successful conservation program.”
LWCF requires zero taxpayer dollars, and instead utilizes royalties earned from offshore oil and gas revenues. Through several grant programs, the fund helps clean up wildlife areas, procure easements to improve public lands access for Americans, safeguard historic sites and battlefields, and much more. Since its inception in 1964, LWCF has preserved and maintained recreational areas in all 50 states and nearly every congressional district. The outdoor economy generates roughly $900 billion in annual economic activity and supports 7.6 million jobs, all of which benefits from LWCF.
Shaheen has led efforts to help secure full funding and permanent authorization for LWCF, which has helped protect more than 2.5 million acres of land and supported tens of thousands of state and local outdoor recreation projects throughout the nation.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.