The official recertification of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, this spring marks more than the victorious end of a hard-fought battle. Think of it as a binding, unbreakable, forever truce.
For years, AMC had rallied alongside other conservation groups in advocating for the fund. Even before its Congressional authorization expired in September 2018, LWCF, which invests royalties from federal offshore oil and gas leases to improve and expand public lands, had been chronically underfunded and frequently raided for non-conservation purposes. Reauthorizing the program was a bipartisan effort that took years to complete.
“I am glad to see LWCF finally cross the finish line,” says Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who for years advocated to make the program permanent. “Now it can continue its important conservation work with certainty, benefitting future generations.”
But with President Trump’s signing of the bill March 12, following passage by both the House and the Senate in February, LWCF is only permanently reauthorized. The final step in the campaign to save LWCF is to fully fund the program.
Here’s a look at a few key numbers behind the LWCF reauthorization victory:
54: Years LWCF was partially funded, from 1964 to 2019
85 & 92: Percent of the House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, who voted in favor of LWCF
98: Percent of U.S. counties that have benefited from LWCF funds
216: LWCF advocates from AMC’s region who flew to Washington, D.C., to meet with their representatives since 2015
1,141: Conservation groups, landowners, and outdoor enthusiasts comprising the LWCF Coalition
2,724: Letters sent by AMC members to their Congresspeople, supporting LWCF, between October 2017 and February 2019
42,000+: Outdoor recreation projects funded
2 million: Acres of public land preserved by LWCF
Sources: LWCF Coalition, Sen. Richard Burr, AMC