The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been permanently reauthorized as part of a sweeping public lands package signed into law by President Trump.
The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House (363-62) and the Senate (92-8) last month, was signed during a ceremony that included LWCF champions.
This is the culmination of a years-long effort by Congressional champions on both sides of the aisle and by stakeholders across the country to preserve the unique character of this program created as a conservation offset for energy development.
The following statement can be attributed to Tom Cors, director of government relations for lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesman for the LCWF coalition:
“We applaud our champions in the House and Senate for demonstrating that bipartisan cooperation can achieve great things, and for finding common ground in the fight to ensure that future generations will continue to have access to close-to-home recreation.
“With this important milestone, our nation is closer than ever to meeting the program’s original intent: to dedicate proceeds from the use of our natural resources to the conservation of America’s most important landscapes. Now the stage is set to realize that vision, and we look forward to working with LWCF’s many advocates on both sides of the aisle to secure the full, dedicated LWCF funding on which our nation’s communities, economy, and special places need.
“The outdoor recreation industry, governors, mayors, sportsmen, small business owners, conservation leaders, landowners, ranchers, and millions of Americans applaud the permanent reauthorization of LWCF and will continue to fight for the protection of our shared outdoor heritage.”
At this point, many questions linger about the future of the LWCF. President Trump signed this bill just one day after his budget proposal which aims to remove a large portion of funding from the LWCF.
“He didn’t say anything,” said Montana Sen. Steve Daines, when asked about funding. “It wasn’t a funding or appropriations discussion. It was as a signing ceremony for a public lands package. It’s not that often you have the Oval Office full of Republicans and Democrats celebrating the passage of a good bipartisan piece of legislation. (The appropriations decision) kicks off this week and will be a discussion we’ll have all the way through until the end of the fiscal year, which will be Sept. 30 this year.”