Target: Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
Goal: Fully fund the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund using royalties from oil and gas companies.
Countless park habitats will be immediately threatened without funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). For 50 years, LWCF has acquired and maintained land with special historical or environmental importance and has done its work with the praise and support of both major parties as well as conservation, recreation and sportsmen’s groups. However, this important fund is set to expire in September. There is legislation to keep it alive, but it has stalled under a firestorm of Republican attack. Funding for this program does not come from taxpayer dollars. It comes from royalties paid by energy companies, in exchange for the right to drill offshore in federal water. Republicans want to divert this money for their own purposes.
LWCF is supposed to be funded to $900 million per year, but portions of its money keep being diverted elsewhere. Now, its very renewal is threatened. If LWCF is not renewed, countless improvement projects in parks all over the country will be immediately threatened. A persistent core of Republicans, opposed to the government owning any land, wants to see this historically popular law abandoned or its mandate changed to prevent funding being used for new acquisitions. Part of LWCF’s mission has been to purchase private land located in the middle of public land, so it can’t be developed.
LWCF has played an important and much-lauded role in protecting our public lands for 50 years supported by conservation, recreation and sportsmen’s groups. There is no reason for its funding to be threatened except that Republicans see a way to grab money for their own purposes and prevent any expansion of public lands. Critical parks, trails, wildlife and recreation projects depend on LWCF funding this year. LWCF must be renewed and fully funded at $900 million.
Dear Secretary Jewell,
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is 50 years old and in danger of being defunded. LWCF is both popular and successful with a long history of bipartisan support as well as strong support from conservation, recreation and sportsmen’s groups. There is no legitimate reason for this funding to disappear. Countless projects throughout the park system, targeted for repair or upgrade, will be immediately threatened.
More than 88 percent of voters support the concept of using a portion of offshore drilling fees for the work of LWCF and 77 percent support full funding at $900 million a year. Americans want LWCF to protect land and water in the parks we love. This is especially important in light of the disastrous oil spill off California’s coast that is threatening some of the finest beaches in the world.
LWCF should be fully funded at $900 million and that funding should be dedicated to the unique work it does.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service