Today, Mark Udall successfully fought for an amendment in the U.S. Senate that, if passed into law, would ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund continues to operate through 2022. The measure, which was attached to the transportation bill being debated on the Senate floor, also ensures nearly full funding for the important conservation program in 2013 and 2014.
"This is great news for recreation enthusiasts and communities across our country where the economy is based on access to clean air and water," Udall said. "LWCF helps sustain our quality of life, create jobs and strengthen our economy in Colorado and across the country. For example, hunting and fishing - much of it on public lands and waters - sustain more than 1.6 million jobs and support a $76 billion sporting industry nationally."
Created in 1967, the Land and Water Conservation Fund designates a small portion of the royalties from oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters to be used for the conservation of special places. It has helped us preserve land in Grand Canyon National Park and along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, and to create Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park.
But the LWCF has rarely been funded at the level that was originally intended. Since 1967, over $17 billion from revenues designated for the fund have been diverted and used for non-conservation purposes.
Udall's provision ensures that LWCF will continue at least for the next decade. He will continue to fight to ensure Congress doesn't break the promise it made to the American people to use LWCF as a tool to create new recreation opportunities and protect our nation's natural treasures by expanding parks, forest and wildlife areas.
"I'm going to continue to fight to ensure this measure passes the full Senate and is signed into law," Udall continued. "But this is only a partial victory. It's time to support the LWCF as it was intended so it can meet its full potential and our country's special places can be enjoyed for years to come."