Land & Water Conservation Fund Update

by Andy Hawes

A year ago, we blogged about the Senate-proposed Natural Resources Management Act (NRMA) which sought to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The proposed NRMA was developed largely due to the efforts of a number of outdoor recreation and conservation organizations who lobbied Congress to permanently reauthorize the LWCF. Prior to that, LWCF expired in 2015, but Congress granted a temporary extension to September 30, 2018.

As an update, by a vote of 92-8, the Senate approved the NRMA. The House passed the Acton a 363-62 vote. Outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists were elated when President Trump eventually signed the Act into law. With the President’s signature, the LWCF was finally given a permanent home after 54 years of uncertainty. However, the Act does not mandate Congress to fully fund LWCF and mark it for conservation projects.  Accordingly, the fund proponents’ concern over future funding is not over.  In fact, President Trump’s 2021 budget calls for deep cuts to the LWCF. Specifically, the President has asked Congress to reduce discretionary fund spending by 97%. Once again, conservationists and other LWCF supporters are hitting Washington D.C. in support of LWCF and are now calling upon Congress to bring legislation authorizing permanent and dedicated LWCF funding.

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