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Mr. HOLT. Mr. Chairman, this amendment comes from both sides of the aisle. I'm joined by Mr. Murphy, Mr. Bass, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Dingell, Mr. Kind, and I see Mr. Dold of Illinois here.
Almost five decades ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was created on a sound and fair principle: oil companies who drill on public lands and who therefore are taking a resource that belongs to all citizens of the United States should, in return, out of fairness, give Americans the protection of land so that as they take this resource and refine it and sell it, they preserve these resources--parks, recreation, direct preservation of cultural and land resources.
The bill before us today aims to increase the amount of oil and gas production in Federal waters as a means to raise revenue for transportation funding. These oil fields belong to all Americans. Just as the revenues generated from offshore oil drilling must be shared with all Americans, a portion of these revenues should be used towards conservation and preservation of public lands that belong to all of us. That has been the principle now for four decades, almost five decades, of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The LWCF enjoys strong bipartisan and popular support. The program has protected land in every State and has supported more than 41,000 State and local parks and other open-space parcels.
The Trust for Public Land recently conducted an analysis of the return on the investment from LWCF funds. In an 11-year, 12-year period, going up until about 1 year ago, for the $537 million invested in conserving 131,000 acres, $2 billion was generated in economic goods and services. In other words, for every dollar invested in LWCF funds, $4 was returned in economic value. These are not taxpayer dollars that are invested. This is revenue that comes from the oil companies.
Our amendment would stipulate, simply, that nothing in the bill would reduce the amount of revenue from oil and gas receipts available for deposit into the LWCF.
I urge adoption of this amendment.
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