Natural Resources Dems Request Full Funding of LWCF in FY2017 Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C. – In the midst of a tumultuous budget and appropriations process, Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and all 17 Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee sent a joint letter the Appropriations Committee today to urge full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the FY2017 Interior and Environment appropriations bill. Despite there being bipartisan support for permanent reauthorization of the Program, Republicans on the Committee declined to sign the letter.

Congress is authorized to appropriate up to $900 million a year – paid for by a fee on the development of oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) – to promote conservation and recreation opportunities across the county. However, Congress has consistently under-appropriated LWCF by diverting more than half of its authorized revenue to other purposes.

The letter – addressed to Interior and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) – highlights that full funding of the Program would come at no expense to taxpayers and increase the number of public lands and water conservation projects across the nation. It reads in part:

LWCF has protected nearly 5 million acres, including lands near some of our nation’s most treasured landscapes such as Grand Canyon National Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Imagine what this highly successful program could accomplish if the full $900 million were appropriated annually.

Last month, President Obama’s 2017 budget called to fully fund LWCF through a combination of discretionary ($475 million) and mandatory ($425 million) funding, and pursues permanent authorization and annual mandatory funding beginning in FY2018.

The full letter is available at, http://1.usa.gov/1UMZTF4

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