Land and Water Conservation Fund

sleepyeyeegyptianOil and Offshore

Nov 8, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)

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Land and Water Conservation Fund

Fast Facts:



The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1965 by Congress as
a
bipartisan commitment to invest in our natural areas, working lands and historic and
cultural heritage, and to increase acces
s to recreational opportunities for all Americans.




The LWCF has added millions of acres to our national parks, national wildlife refuges,
national forests, national historic and scenic trails and wild and scenic river corridors.
The Fund has permanently

protected some of America’s most cherished natural and
cultural treasures including the Grand Canyon National Park, the Appalachian National
Scenic Trail, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the Gettysburg National
Military Park.




In addition,
the LWCF state assistance program has helped develop thousands of trails,
recreation fields, and other park facilities Americans use every day and has been used to
create new parks and recreation lands in every state in the nation.




The LWCF has also helpe
d farmers and ranchers protect their land with conservation
easements and saved some of America’s richest wildlife areas for hunting and fishing.




Tell your own l
ocal
success story! List some land protection projects the LWCF has
funded in your area. (For

example,
in the Mid
-
Atlantic Chesapeake Region
:
history
-
soaked landscapes such as Harpers

Ferry National Historical Park
.)




Despite this track record of success, the LWCF program has been dramatically
underfunded.




Every year, $900 million from the fede
ral Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) drilling lease
proceeds are supposed to be dedicated to the LWCF. But the
full funding of $900 million
promised by Congress has been reached only once since 1965.


o

Congress has diverted as much as
$17 billion
--

85 percen
t

--

of the Fund’s
dedicated revenue for projects unrelated to conservation or recreation.

o

Over the last eight years LWCF funding for federal land protection has dropped
over 70 percent, hitting a low of $130 million in Fiscal Year 2008.


Talking Points:




To meet the goals of America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, it is essential to f
ull
y

fund

the
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The Administration must lead efforts to
provide
full

and dedicated
fund
ing

of
this program

at the promised and authorized
level
of $900 million annually
.



The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a program that touches all Americans.
From national parks to urban parks, from picnic areas to playgrounds, from open trails
to open spaces, LWCF has been the key to providing
and protecting places for all
Americans to recreate, relax, and get outdoors.




This summer, as part of the national conversation over America’s Great Outdoors
Initiative, landowners,
educators,
ranchers,
outdoor retailers
and recreationists are
all
asking
for full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
at the promised and Congressionally
-
authorized level of $900 million annually.




This broad cross
-
section of stakeholders
represent t
he overwhelming majority of
Americans
who
su
pport the LWCF and full funding
of
it at $900 million a year, according
to a
recent national bipartisan poll:
*


o

When asked whether some of the funds from offshore drilling fees should
continue to go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an overwhelming

majority of voters


86 percent


are supportive (up 5 percent from the same
question asked in June 2009).

o

And a nearly equal number of voters view the fund as more important now in
light of the recent Gulf oil spill
.


A striking 85 percent say that it i
s more
important today that funds “from offshore oil and gas drilling should be used to
protect our forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, beaches and wildlife habitat.”

o

More than three
-
quarters


77 percent


support funding LWCF at $900 million a
year.




Th
e LWCF also has broad bi
-
partisan support in Congress. This past year, letters
authored by members of both parties from the House and the Senate to their respective
Appropriations Committees were submitted with 117 members of the House and 44
members of th
e Senate signing on.




Because of the failure to fully fund the LWCF, there is a huge unmet need to fund parks,
build recreational facilities and other eligible national, state and local projects.
Opportunities to protect fish and wildlife habitat, provide
public access for recreation,
preserve our nation’s most notable historic and cultural sites, and protect scenic vistas
are being lost every day the LWCF is not fully funded
.




M
oney
invested
from the program also has a positive impact on the economy. More

than 500 million people visit national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges, and
recreational sites each year, helping local economies. Outdoor recreation
supports over
6.5
million jobs and contributes $730 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
**


*May 2
010 national telephone survey conducted by the bipartisan research team Public Opinion Strategies and
FM3

**Figures supplied by the Outdoor Industry Foundation