Gaithersburg, MD – The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been a driving force for conservation and outdoor recreation for over 50 years. The Izaak Walton League of America applauds Senate action yesterday to permanently reauthorize LWCF.
“The Izaak Walton League played a pivotal role in creating the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1964. This groundbreaking legislation was conceived and drafted by the League’s legendary Conservation Director Joe Penfold as a result of his work on the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission,” says League Conservation Director Jared Mott. “LWCF has become our nation’s most successful conservation program and our best tool for securing access to outdoor recreation for all Americans. The Senate’s actions are the first step toward securing that legacy forever.”
Momentum for permanent reauthorization now shifts to the House of Representatives and the House Natural Resources Committee. Chairman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona has promised that the committee will act soon to pass a permanent reauthorization of LWCF.
“The League stands ready to work with the House Natural Resources Committee and House leadership to get permanent reauthorization of LWCF passed and onto the president’s desk as quickly as possible,” continues Mott.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the primary mechanism through which local, state, and federal agencies acquire and consolidate land for public use and benefit, including for outdoor recreation and to conserve natural resources. LWCF is funded through royalties from federal offshore leases of publicly owned oil and gas. Under federal law, LWCF can distribute up to $900 million annually for conservation to indirectly offset the impacts of the offshore oil and gas operations. However, the program was allowed to expire at the end of September 2018. By eliminating the potential for LWCF expiration, the Senate has recognized the extraordinary value that comes from the conservation and outdoor recreation opportunities generated by the Fund and that those benefits should be permanent.