House Passes Gardner-Led Public Lands Package
Bill Heads to President’s Desk to be Signed into Law
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House passed S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act, the Lands Package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as numerous other Gardner-authored bills that have a direct impact on Colorado. The legislation now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. Gardner released the below statement following Senate passage of the Lands Package:
“After four years of working on this issue, the Senate was finally able to permanently reauthorize the crown jewel of conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I have championed this program throughout my time in the Senate because of how important it is to all Coloradans who love our great outdoors. The program has a direct impact on public lands in Colorado and will be used to protect our state’s natural beauty for future generations. I’m thrilled we were able to finally permanently reauthorize this commonsense program supported by Coloradans across the political spectrum. This is a great day for the future of Colorado’s public lands.”
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Conservation Groups Tout Gardner’s Leadership on Public Lands
The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado State Director Carlos Fernandez: “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been perhaps the single most critical tool for ensuring our outdoor-driven way of life here in Colorado for more than 50 years. Now, after many years of uncertainty about the program’s future, we no longer have that worry. Senator Gardner’s support and leadership means that we can plan better for future conservation work, and we can ensure the outdoor economy can continue to thrive here for the benefit of our communities and families. Permanently renewing LWCF is simply a tremendous accomplishment for our state and our nation, and we’re grateful for Senator Gardner’s leadership on behalf of our citizens and our lands and waters.”
LWCF Coalition Spokesman Jay Leutze: “Senator Gardner's steadfast support of this program has been instrumental in keeping the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee focused on the prize of permanent reauthorization. Boots on the ground visits to key sites in Colorado that have received funding from LWCF are the best way to connect with what is at stake in this battle and Senator Gardner spends a lot of time in Colorado's iconic outdoor destinations. All of our best champions are ardent advocates for their own treasured landscapes and that's where Senator Gardner's passion was born."
Colorado Canyons Association Op-Ed in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: “Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner deserves a great deal of credit for helping to shepherd the measure through the GOP-controlled Senate and for fighting off amendments that likely would have killed the bill.”
The Conservation Fund’s Colorado Field Representative Christine Quinlan: “The Conservation Fund is thrilled to see permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund pass the Senate, as LWCF is a critical tool in Colorado and nationally for preserving land for outdoor recreation, conservation, and economic development. U.S. Senator Gardner joined us last year at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to celebrate a LWCF success that added nearly 2,500 acres to the Park, increasing access for hikers and anglers and supporting local economic development. He and the Colorado congressional delegation have been fighting hard to keep LWCF available to protect our nation’s greatest places.”
The Trust for Public Land’s Colorado and Southwest Director Jim Petterson: “Today, Coloradoans voicing their strong support for more access to parks, trails and open spaces were finally heard in Washington, D.C. The Senate passed legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. From neighborhood parks to national parks, LWCF brings real benefits to our urban and rural communities and economies, and is an issue that transcends the partisan divide. I want to thank Senator Cory Gardner for his leadership in pressing for permanent reauthorization of LWCF, and for working in a bipartisan fashion to win Senate approval. We look forward to working with him to get LWCF authorization over the finish line in the coming weeks.”
Boone and Crockett Club President Timothy C. Brady: “We thank Senator Cory Gardner for his work in the passage of this critical legislation. This package is a testament of the strength and unity of the sportsmen's community, and we urge the House of Representatives to pass it as well.”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ Conservation Director John Gale: “S. 47 is the most significant public lands package to move through Congress in over a decade. Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund and dedicating resources to enhancing public access have long been top priorities for hunters and anglers, and Sen. Gardner has been a staunch champion from the very beginning. We applaud his leadership in helping advance a critical package of conservation measures that not only benefits sportsmen and women but also delivers greater certainty for our public lands, waters and wildlife. As a fellow Coloradan, I appreciate his commitment to doing things the Colorado way by setting politics aside in order to pass meaningful legislation guided by unity and bipartisanship for the benefit of our natural resources and outdoor heritage.”
Colorado Trout Unlimited Executive Director David Nickum: “For more than 50 years the Land and Water Conservation Fund has invested in our public lands and outdoor recreation, securing access for anglers to world-class fisheries like the Gunnison Gorge and helping conserve special landscapes like the Baca Ranch in the San Luis Valley. We were alarmed that Congress allowed the program to lapse last year and deeply appreciate Senator Gardner’s hard work to get Senate passage for LWCF’s permanent reauthorization as part of this bipartisan package.”
Pew Charitable Trusts Letter to Senator Gardner: “Coloradans value their state’s waterways, wilderness, and outdoor heritage, and Colorado’s public lands sustain a growing outdoor recreation economy. This bipartisan package underscores the importance that you and your constituents place on protecting Colorado’s and America’s spectacular lands and waters. Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you to see the Natural Resources Management Act enacted into law, and on future measures to conserve Colorado’s public lands.”
IN THE NEWS
Gardner authored several provisions in the bill including adding land to the Florrissant National Monument, adding Amache — the Japanese internment site — to the national park system and a measure to protect endangered fish. The reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund will also provide $250 million to projects in Colorado.
“Public lands are a huge part of who we are in Colorado. It’s a huge part of our economy,” Gardner said in an interview with The Durango Herald. “I’m a Coloradan, and Coloradans support the outdoors.” The LWCF has seen to the creation and maintenance of national parks, federal reserves and community parks throughout Colorado, including Rocky Mountain National Park. The Outdoor Industry Association, a trade organization, reported LWCF contributed about $8.7 million to fund and maintain Rocky Mountain National Park.
The bill is the culmination of years of negotiations in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which includes Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner. The package has nine Colorado-specific bills in it. “After four years of working on this issue, the Senate was finally able to permanently reauthorize the crown jewel of conservation programs, the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” Gardner said in a statement.
Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner both supported the far-reaching bipartisan measure, which now goes to the House for consideration and likely adoption because it includes projects for many states. Gardner, the Republican, and Bennet, the Democrat, both said a vital part of the bill is the reauthorization of the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund, which expired last year but has been used by states to pay for public land purchases, protections and other conservation efforts.
A package of more than 100 bills that would increase conservation and access to the outdoors nationwide passed the U.S. Senate Tuesday 92 to 8. Senate Bill 47, which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, is the culmination of years of negotiations in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which includes Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.
Lawmakers from both parties said the bill’s most important provision was to permanently reauthorize the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country. The program expired last fall after Congress could not agree on language to extend it.
Among the most consequential provisions is the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program established in 1964 that uses fees and royalties paid by oil and gas companies drilling in federal waters to pay for onshore conservation programs.
The measure protects 1.3 million acres as wilderness, the nation’s most stringent protection, which prohibits even roads and motorized vehicles. It permanently withdraws more than 370,000 acres of land from mining around two national parks, including Yellowstone, and permanently authorizes a program to spend offshore-drilling revenue on conservation efforts
Millions of acres of wilderness may soon be protected thanks to a bill pushed by Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. It’s the most sweeping conservation bill in a decade, in Colorado alone the measure would add new access to 250,000 acres of land.
Colorado republican Senator Cory Gardner says one measure he cosponsored will help improve the fight against wildfires by improving technology using GPS location for crews and drones.
The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund which our parks have relied on since 1964 expired in September after Congress could not agree on language to extend it, but on Tuesday the Senate approved the bill and sent it to the House. Senator Cory Gardner who sponsored the bill says this is important to Coloradans.
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is celebrating a win after the Senate overwhelmingly voted 92-8 to approve the Land and Water Conservation Fund… It’s a landmark public lands and parks bill bringing a quarter of a billion dollars for projects here to Colorado.
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