Target: U.S. Representative Rob Bishop
Goal: Stop trying to dismantle the Land and Water Conservation Fund and work to reauthorize it instead.
Our public lands are at risk of losing funding once again. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), an important source of conservation and recreation funding since 1965, is currently in danger of being dismantled. The program expired on September 30 and needs to be reauthorized by Congress. However, Republican Representative Rob Bishop from Utah has introduced legislation that would drastically weaken the LWCF.
Despite consistent bipartisan support for the conservation fund, Bishop hopes to take many of the important provisions away from it, such as the ability of landowners to create conservation easements to protect land from development. Bishop’s legislation would also divert funding away from conservation programs and towards “workforce education,” including training programs for oil and gas companies. These changes would work to nullify the very point of the LWCF. The LWCF was created to provide non-taxpayer money towards the maintenance of trails, cultural landmarks, sensitive wildlife areas, and recreation opportunities. Its creation promised that a small amount of the revenue derived from offshore oil and gas drilling would go to these projects, to help offset the environmental degradation caused by the industry.
In a time when our public lands and natural resource agencies are already seriously underfunded, the last thing we need is another attack on conservation funding. Instead of trying to further erode what little provisions we have in place, Bishop should be working with other members of Congress to support legislation that would reauthorize the LWCF. Please urge Rep. Bishop join bipartisan support to permanently reinstate the LWCF, not dismantle it.
Dear Representative Bishop,
I am concerned by your introduction of a bill that would drastically change the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important source of conservation and recreation funding for the past 50 years. Although the LWCF expired in September, it has consistently received bipartisan support and has every reason to be fully reauthorized. Attempting to dismantle the LWCF is a threat to public lands and an affront to the American people.
The LWCF provides vital non-taxpayer money to land and water conservation projects, recreation opportunities, and preservation of cultural landmarks. Part of the purpose of the fund was to allow some of the profits of offshore oil and gas drilling to go towards enhancing our natural resources. This is a very important provision, considering offshore drilling consistently places our water and land at risk. Your proposed amendments to the fund would completely reverse the purpose of the LWCF, diverting funds away from conservation and recreation and towards “workforce education” for oil and gas industry workers—something that has no place in a conservation fund. Additionally, your bill would limit landowners’ rights to protect their property from development, a serious threat to conservation efforts everywhere.
Our natural resources are already at risk from serious underfunding to parks, programs, and agencies. I urge you to review the purpose and meaning of the LWCF and understand its vital importance. Your responsibility as a representative is to the American people who want to see their public lands protected, not to the industries that wish to abuse them. Please abandon your radical bill and join bipartisan support for the full and permanent reauthorization of the LWCF.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Papilio Alexanor