Cantwell, Bipartisan Coalition Urge Senate Leadership to Permanently Reauthorize Land and Water Conservation Fund

LWCF generates over $887 billion in annual consumer spending, supports 7.6 million American jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter urging Senate leadership to permanently reauthorize and provide dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) before its expiration on September 30, 2018.

“The LWCF is one of the country’s best conservation programs, preserving public lands and ensuring access to outdoor recreation in rural and urban areas,” the senators wrote. “For the last half century, it has protected lands, historic sites, national parks, wilderness areas, and urban parks in every state… It is critical that this program be reauthorized before its expiration on September 30, 2018.”

In Washington state alone, the outdoor recreation economy contributes over $26 billion in consumer spending and supports more than 201,000 direct jobs. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a key component of our nation’s robust outdoor recreation economy, which generates over $887 billion in annual consumer spending and supports 7.6 million American jobs.

“For the economy, sportsmen, veterans, wildlife, and our kids and grandkids, we must permanently reauthorize LWCF,” the letter continues. “We also strongly request that you include mandatory full funding in any LWCF reauthorization package. We look forward to working with you to resolve this pressing issue.”

The LWCF has supported more than 42,000 state and local projects in communities across the country. It operates without any taxpayer funding, but according to the letter, more than $21 billion has been diverted from the LWCF trust fund to other purposes since its founding in 1965.

In March 2017, Senators Cantwell and Burr introduced bipartisan legislation to permanently authorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It now has 45 cosponsors in the Senate. Additionally, one of the key accomplishments of the bipartisan Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017 (ENRA) introduced by Cantwell in June 2017 is the permanent authorization of LWCF.

In addition to Senators Cantwell and Burr, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Udall (D-NM), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Angus King (I-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

The full text of the letter is available HERE.