Mark Udall urged his congressional colleagues to include critical funding and re-authorization language for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in last-minute negotiations for the transportation-funding bill currently being negotiated by a Senate-House conference committee.
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides important support for protecting some of our most special places," Udall said. "I strongly urge the conference committee working on the transportation-funding bill to include the LWCF provisions. Many Colorado communities rely on this program to bolster their efforts to maintain and improve our land, air and water - and our quality of life. All of it equals more tourism and jobs for Colorado."
Created in 1967, the Land and Water Conservation Fund designates a small portion of the royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling to be used for the conservation of special places. It has helped 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.
Earlier this year, Udall successfully added provisions to the transportation-funding bill to ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund continues to operate through 2022. Udall's provision would ensure that LWCF will continue for at least the next decade. He also fought to include funding for the program for the next two years. Udall promised to continue to fight to ensure Congress does not 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.
Colorado received $651,599 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for projects in 2011.