Progress on Bipartisan Plan to Reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced a bipartisan agreement to permanently authorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The law’s current 25-year authorization expires on September 30, 2015.

“This is a huge step forward at a critical time because the program’s current authorization will expire in less than 70 days,” said Alan Rowsome, Senior Director of Government Relations for Lands at The Wilderness Society and Co-Chair of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. “We are proud to endorse this agreement that would make America’s most important conservation program permanent. “However there is still a lot of work to do in order to pass legislation to make reauthorization and funding of the program a reality,” Rowsome added.

The bipartisan legislation would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund in a way designed to balance land acquisition with other conservation programs important to states and it would permanently reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund, both set to expire this fall. It also creates a new National Park Maintenance and Revitalization Fund, to address the maintenance backlog at some of our nation’s most treasured public places.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund invests in local parks, trails, historic sites, and ball fields as well as American treasures such as Grand Canyon National Park. Over the past 50 years, the fund has supported protection of open spaces and heritage sites in virtually every county in the U.S., making it easier for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors. The program is funded with a small portion of royalties from offshore oil and gas drilling in public waters – not through taxation.

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