As many program supporters had feared, the authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) expired on September 30th. While we here at the Forest Society remain hopeful Congress will reach an agreement to permanently authorize it and provide more robust funding levels, the truth is right now LWCF faces an uncertain future. Congress must act now to end this uncertainty.
Senators and Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will return on November 13th for a post-election lame duck session. While the legislative agenda will be full, restoring the LWCF has to be considered a must-pass item. In addition to reauthorization, however, there is an urgent need for dedicated full funding into the future for the program, which continues to see much of its annual Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) energy revenue diverted away from LWCF authorized purposes.
Fortunately, Representative Raul M. Grijalva of Arizona has introduced a new bipartisan bill in the House (HR 6759) to address this need. Both Congresswoman Kuster and Congresswoman Shea-Porter have been champions of the LWCF. We are urging both of them to sign on as cosponsors of HR 6759 to further demonstrate the deep support the program has not only in Congress but among the American public. We encourage you to weigh in on this directly with each of them before the lame duck session starts next week.
You can contact Congresswoman Anne McLane Kuster, NH’s 2nd District HERE
You can contact Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, NH’s 1st District HERE
Here are the key points to make to our House delegation members:
1. Our State’s cherished open spaces provide a broad range of benefits from the protection of drinking water resources to being the underpinning of our outdoor recreation economy. But, they are also threatened with permanent conversion to other uses that will undermine these public benefits.
2. The LWCF is a critical solution to this challenge.
3. Dedicating LWCF’s OCS revenues will address conservation and outdoor recreation needs at the local, state, and federal levels as it will provide the certainty and consistency for planning that communities, landowners and states need.
4. HR 6759 (along with its Senate companion bill S. 569) will finally stop the diversion of LWCF funds that have been specifically put aside from offshore royalties, and use them only for their intended purpose.
Finally, we also ask our readers to thank Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Maggie Hassan for their support of S. 569. Urge them to continue to push their Senate colleagues to approve S. 569 in the lame-duck session.
You can thank Senator Jeanne Shaheen HERE
You can thank Senator Maggie Hassan HERE