Gardner Presses for Permanent Reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he has joined a bipartisan letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pressing for a permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF provides funding for conservation and helps ensure public access to the outdoors. Senator Gardner voted to make the LWCF’s authorization permanent in January, but that vote fell one vote shy of passage.  The Senator also voted to make LWCF authorization permanent in the bipartisan energy bill that passed through the Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 18-4. 

“The LWCF is one of the most critical tools we have for protecting our nation’s natural treasures,” Gardner said. “Its permanent reauthorization is supported by sportsmen, hunters, and many other Coloradans who appreciate the outdoors. It’s a responsible fiscal partnership and provides countless benefits.

“I’ve supported making the LWCF’s authorization permanent throughout my time in the Senate, and I will continue to work towards making that goal a reality. I’m proud to join this letter and will continue to press Senate leadership for a permanent solution to responsibly funding the preservation of public lands.”

The letter reads, in full:

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:

Fifty years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act of 1964 established America’s most successful conservation and recreation program. The Fund was designed to assure that outdoor recreation lands would be secured, on a pay-as-you-go basis, for future generations.  As we mark this anniversary, the expiration of this critical investment tool on September 30 is quickly approaching.  We write to express our strong support for LWCF, to ask your help in ensuring that the program’s authorization does not lapse, and to urge that its permanent reauthorization be included in legislation to be enacted this session.

Investments in LWCF support public land conservation and ensure access to the outdoors for all Americans, in rural communities and cities alike. It has created outdoor recreation opportunities in every state and 98 percent of counties across the country, opening up key areas for hunting, fishing, and other recreational access; supporting working forests and ranches; acquiring inholdings and protecting critical lands in national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, Civil War battlefields, and other federal areas; and making additions and improvements to state and local parks and recreation facilities.

Lasting authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF will help ensure that the Fund plays the strongest possible role in revitalizing local communities. America's outdoor recreation, conservation, and preservation economies contribute over $1 trillion to the nation's economy each year and support 9.4 million American jobs, this is one out of every 15 jobs in the U.S. Support for public lands among the American public remains consistently and overwhelmingly strong.

The LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars, and instead, funds are primarily derived from oil and gas receipts paid to the federal government by energy companies that extract publicly-owned resources from the Outer Continental Shelf. Congress created LWCF as a bipartisan promise to return precious resources back to the American public by using these funds specifically for conservation and recreation purposes.  Despite its history of underfunding, LWCF remains the premier federal program to conserve our nation's land, water, historic, and recreation heritage. 

We urge the inclusion of a short-term reauthorization of the LWCF in the coming days before the program expires on September 30, and seek your commitment to work with us to achieve permanent authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF in any legislation poised to become law this year. We must act quickly to renew this program, and we look forward to working with you toward that end.

A copy of the full, signed letter is available here.                                                                                                                                                                                


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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