FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2015
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Expires Today
Congress Must Act Now To Reauthorize the Fund
Gaithersburg, Maryland – The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is one of our nation’s greatest conservation programs. Congress created the Fund in 1965 to provide outdoor recreation for all Americans and to conserve critical cultural and natural resources. The Izaak Walton League was part of the team that recommended such a fund, and we urge Congress to continue to support its goals.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund expires today after 50 years of success. It has funded projects in almost every community in America, including millions of acres of publicly available outdoor space, more than 29,000 local recreation facilities, protection of battlefields and historic sites, and much more. LWCF funding helps pay for city, county, and state parks and fills important gaps in national parks, forests, and battlefields. Hunters, anglers, boaters, wildlife watchers, and anyone who enjoys the outdoors benefit directly from this program. So do local economies and businesses that provide services related to outdoor recreation.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides all these benefits without tapping into taxpayer dollars. Instead, the program is funded by a small portion of revenues from the sale of publicly owned offshore oil and gas leases. LWCF is authorized at an annual level of $900 million, but Congress has fulfilled that obligation just once. Instead, Congress has diverted LWCF money elsewhere, often funding the program at less than half its promised amount and zeroing out state funds completely.
It’s time for a change. Congress must reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and permanently fund it at $900 million (or more, adjusting for inflation). If Congress does not act, we will all pay the price.
“The Izaak Walton League believes that providing outdoor recreation opportunities is critical to maintaining public health as well as public support for our natural resources,” said Mike Leahy, Izaak Walton League Conservation Director. “One of Congress’ top priorities needs to be reauthorizing this popular and successful program so more Americans can have places to enjoy the great outdoors.”
Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) and our more than 44,000 members protect America’s outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.
Mike Leahy, firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 548-0150 x224
Dawn Merritt, email@example.com or (301) 548-0150 x220