More than half of Senate urges reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund

More than half the members of the U.S. Senate are urging chamber leadership to pass a bill reauthorizing a federal conservation program before it expires at the end of the month. Fifty-two senators, including 12 Republicans, signed a letter from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) calling on Senate leadership to push a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) bill this month.

The lawmakers said the Senate should consider passing even a temporary authorization for the program if a deal can’t immediately be reached on extending the program long-term.

“We urge the inclusion of a short-term reauthorization of the LWCF in the coming days before the program expires on September 30, and seek your commitment to work with us to achieve permanent authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF in any legislation poised to become law this year,” the senators wrote in their letter, dated Sept. 17. “We must act quickly to renew this program, and we look forward to working with you toward that end.”

The LWCF, a $300 million federal program that pays for land acquisition and recreation projects on federal land, traditionally wins bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. But House Republicans are looking to reform the program this year before reauthorizing it. The fund’s charter expires on Sept. 30.

“Investments in LWCF support public land conservation and ensure access to the outdoors for all Americans, in rural communities and cities alike,” the group wrote. “Lasting authorization and consistent funding of the LWCF will help ensure that the Fund plays the strongest possible role in revitalizing local communities.”

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