A few months before the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is due to expire, a number of lawmakers and environmental groups are calling for it to be fully and permanently reauthorized, according to Thursday’s press release from the Sierra Club. The LWCF is used to protect natural spaces and water resources and help develop and build on parks, trails, roads, and buildings for outdoor recreation.
Created in 1965, the LWCF receives $900 million each year. The funds are pulled from royalties paid by oil and gas companies drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, according to the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. But, as Jimmy Tobias reported for Outside in April, rarely does the full amount go toward outdoor infrastructure. The LWCF Coalition says that Congress diverts some of the money for other uses almost every year, and in 2007, funding dropped to less than $100 million.
On Thursday, Republican and Democratic congressmen and senators held a press conference to vouch for reauthorizing the LWCF, and the Sierra Club backed their statements. “Today’s press conference showed once again that it isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue, but rather a community issue,” Dan Chu, director of the group’s Our Wild America campaign, said in the press release. “It’s time we take politics out of our parks and public lands and properly fund LWCF.”
The LWCF is set to expire in September.