Today Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) joined with Senator Max Baucus to introduce legislation in the United States Senate that would fully realize the Land and Water Conservation Fund's (LWCF) promise to conserve parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitat for the benefit of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation.
"I have seen firsthand the role that the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays in acquiring land and maintaining North Carolina's reputation as one of the most scenic and unique states in the country," Senator Burr said. "LWCF was founded as a separate trust that was to be funded by royalties from oil and gas exploration on federal land and water, but a significant portion of those royalties have been diverted by Congress to be spent on other purposes. I am proud to continue efforts to ensure that these funds are used for their original purpose -- to preserve parks and other wildlife spaces for future generations."
Rather than using taxpayer money, LWCF receives a small portion - $900 million each year - of the billions of dollars in annual oil and gas royalties gained from exploration on federally owned land and water. By ensuring that royalties dedicated to LWCF are protected, the legislation would foster federal, state, and local conservation investments that boost tourism, expand recreation spending, protect water quality, insulate communities from natural hazards, sustain agriculture and forestry on private lands, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and improve the quality of life that draws businesses and workers to communities. The program also includes grants to support state and local parks for conserving and developing close-to-home recreation areas and grants for forests and wildlife protection - which create jobs and help communities to attract and keep employers.
In North Carolina, LWCF has protected many key public lands including Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores, Nantahala National Forest, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
The legislation was introduced with 6 cosponsors: U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), Jon Tester (D-MT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Tom Udall (D-NM).