U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced an amendment today to the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act that highlights the many important contributions of the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) over the last 50 years. The amendment further states that it is the sense of the Senate that the LWCF should be reauthorized with full, permanent, and dedicated funding.
The Senators expressed their disappointment that the amendment was denied a vote before the Senate.
"In 1964, a promise was made to the American people that a small portion of proceeds from natural resource development would be invested in conservation and outdoor recreation," Senator Collins said. "Over its 50 years, LWCF has made tremendous contributions to conservation and recreation across the country, and I am deeply concerned that funds continue to be diverted to other purposes. We will not balance our nation's books today by shortchanging our future."
"Fully funding and authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund is essential to ensuring our sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts can more fully access and enjoy the public lands that support our special way of life in Colorado -- and across the nation," Senator Udall said. "This bipartisan amendment sends a clear message that not only is the U.S. Senate invested in supporting this critical fund, but also that we will act to ensure the fund can keep faith with its mission when President Kennedy signed it into law 50 years ago."
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America's most important conservation program, responsible for protecting parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas at the federal, state and local level," said Kathy DeCoster, VP of the Trust for Public Land, on behalf of the LWCF Coalition. "For 50 years, it has provided critical funding for land and water conservation projects, recreational activities and the continued historic preservation our nation's iconic landmarks from coast-to-coast. The LWCF Coalition strongly supports Senators Collins' and Udall's bipartisan amendment calling for full funding and reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in this, its 50th anniversary year."
DeCoster also said: "LWCF does not use any taxpayer dollars--it is funded using a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than a trillion dollars annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 9.4 million jobs. The LWCF Coalition thanks Senators Collins and Udall for their steadfast conservation leadership, and we urge all Senators to support the Collins and Udall amendment."
The bipartisan amendment is cosponsored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Walsh (D-MT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).