Land and Water Conservation Fund
For 50 years—until Congress let it expire on September 30th, 2015—the Land & Water Conservatiimg-mailon Fund (LWCF) has allowed for the purchase of critical lands for conservation and the development of parks, trails, and other outdoor recreation facilities in all 50 states and nearly every county in America.
Created to invest a portion of the revenue from offshore drilling leases towards protecting parks, forests, wildlife refuges, public lands, and other community spaces— the $900 million LWCF has been a crucial tool for helping to close gaps and preserve critical historic and scenic places within our National Trails System. In 2015 alone, over $25 million LWCF dollars were appropriated by Congress to buy land along 11 of our National Scenic and Historic Trails.
A Congressional Update on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (9/29/2016)
Work continues to convince Congress to permanently re-authorize the Land & Water Conservation Fund via several pieces of legislation under consideration. Two bills in the House of Representatives – HR 1814 sponsored by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) has 210 sponsors and HR 4151 sponsored by Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) as an all Republican bill has 13 sponsors – would make the LWCF a permanent program as it now operates. Senate and House members of the conference committee are working to reconcile the energy bills passed by both houses of Congress and are also working to include re-authorization of the LWCF in the final bill. The Senate version of the Energy Bill – S. 2012 – includes the same language that Congressman Simpson used for HR 4151.
There is still hope that one or several of these bills will be adopted by Congress during its post election “Lame Duck” session. Supporters of the Land & Water Conservation Fund should continue to express that support.