Grijalva’s Bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund Bill Reaches 218 Cosponsors

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – a popular and successful conservation tool that protects open spaces and promotes recreation throughout the country – reached 218 bipartisan cosponsors today, the magic number needed to pass a bill on the House floor.

Ranking Member Grijalva and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) introduced H.R. 502 in January of this year, and since then it has garnered broad support, including 26 Republicans, and Representatives from 43 of the 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.

“Today’s achievement demonstrates the widespread Congressional support for permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The LWCF conserves iconic landscapes across the country, gives communities access to places like playgrounds, parks and baseball fields, and best of all, it’s already paid for – it doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime. Lawmakers from around the nation, from Oklahoma to Florida and Maine to New Mexico, support the program and are determined pass H.R. 502 during the next session.”

“In the current bitter political climate, it’s reassuring to see Republicans and Democrats come together to support a bill that does more than just rename a Post Office. A majority of House Members understand how important LWCF is to their constituents, and my colleagues and I are working to deliver a victory for the many people that enjoy the great outdoors,” Grijalva added.

In addition to permanent reauthorization, H.R. 502 ensures that public lands remain truly accessible to the American people by setting aside at least 1.5 percent, a minimum of $10 million annually, of LWCF funds to increase access to existing federal public lands for hunting, fishing, and other recreational purposes.

In the more than 50 years since it was first passed with overwhelming support from Republicans and Democrats, the LWCF has come to be recognized as America’s most important conservation program. LWCF is the only federal program dedicated to the continued conservation of outdoor spaces. The Fund has helped conserve iconic landscapes in every state and is responsible for more than 40,000 state and local recreation projects. LWCF funds are derived from oil and gas receipts paid to the federal government by energy companies that extract publicly-owned resources from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The FY 2016 omnibus appropriations bill reauthorized the fund for an additional three years after it expired in 2015. The fund will expire again on October 1, 2018, if Congress does not take further action.

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