Have you heard about the upcoming Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) re-authorization recently and wondered what the fuss is all about? Are you scratching your head wondering what exactly LWCF is in the first place? If you’ve never heard of LWCF, you’re not the only one. Although it’s been called “America’s most successful conservation program,” it’s not very well known. We’re here to help, with a brief primer on this critical program – LWCF 101:
- This bipartisan program began in 1965 when Congress agreed that a small portion of federal leasing revenues from energy development should be reinvested to protect public land.
- LWCF is funded by a percentage of the more than $6.7 billion in annual offshore oil and gas lease revenue, not taxpayer dollars.
- Every year, LWCF can receive up to $900 million of offshore gas and drilling revenue to spend on conservation efforts, though Congress often appropriates it at a much lower amount.
- LWCF provides funding to acquire land from willing sellers and make it part of local, state, or national public lands.
- Money intended for this program continues to be diverted for other purposes, and recently the fund has received only one-third of its authorized funding level.
- LWCF needs permanent authorization and full funding (at $900 million).
- The funds go to protecting national treasures in and around national parks, forests, monuments, and refuges.
- LWCF Stateside dollars provide crucial support to create and enhance state and local parks and to develop close-to-home recreation facilities across the country.
- Full and dedicated funding is needed for LWCF to fulfill its promise to protect local, state, and federal outdoor recreation and natural areas in America.
On September 30, LWCF will expire forever, meaning that all the funds that we need to protect important trails, national parks, and urban recreation centers, will be gone. LWCF has been used since 1965 to create new parks in urban environments, complete national parks, and protect recreation across the country. Without your voice this critical conservation tool may be lost forever. Please email your Representative today telling them to reauthorize LWCF.