11.19.15

Gardner Priorities Advanced By Energy Committee

Gardner Votes to Make Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced several of his legislative priorities today as part of a productive markup.

“I’m proud that the Energy Committee is putting in the hard work to move legislation forward that protects precious public lands,” Gardner said. “Many of the pieces of legislation advanced today will have lasting impacts in Colorado and our outdoor recreational economy, ensuring that generations to come have access to the same natural beauty that Coloradans have enjoyed going back to the founding of our state.  Conserving and protecting the public lands Coloradans cherish is a bipartisan priority, and one that I will continue to fight for.”

Legislation advanced today included permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which Senator Gardner has long supported. Gardner voted in favor of an amendment in January which would have made the LWCF’s authorization permanent, and has continued to advocate for the LWCF as a critical source of funding for protecting America and Colorado’s natural treasures.

The Committee advanced several public lands measures specific to Colorado.  The Wedge Act, supported by Senator Gardner, Senator Bennet (D-CO), Congressman Polis (D-CO), and Congressman Tipton (R-CO), would aid the U.S. Forest Service in acquiring several parcels of land adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. This Act would help preserve critical wildlife habitat, Colorado River headwaters, and a highly visible viewshed in the area commonly referred to as the Wedge.  Another Colorado measure, also co-sponsored by Senator Bennet, advanced was a federal land exchange where the Forest Service would acquire pristine land in the Pike National Forest allowing for more outdoor recreation near Pikes Peak.   

Additionally, the Committee voted in favor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, a major package of outdoors legislation which contains multiple provisions advocated by Senator Gardner.

The Sportsmen’s Act included permanent reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), a piece of conservation legislation which authorizes the federal government to sell less desirable or extraneous parcels of federal land to fund the acquisition of more desirable or pristine lands. Before its expiration, FLTFA has been used to preserve land in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and White River National Forest.                                                                                       

Finally, the Sportsmen’s Act includes Gardner’s language promoting transparency in the Judgement Fund, which contains the money paid out by the federal government for some lawsuits. Current law provides for very little transparency in the Judgement Fund, giving the public almost no insight into the millions of dollars paid out for claims against the federal government, including groups which routinely file lawsuits against the government and receive taxpayer settlements.                                                                                                                                

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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.