The campaign to #FundLWCF is in full swing, and there is good news on Capitol Hill. There are bills in both the House and the Senate to provide full, dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund at the promised level of $900 million. The bills have wide and bipartisan support. The Senate and House bills have enough co-sponsorships to achieve a majority vote, and the bills have passed out of their respective committees.
AMC now urges Congress to bring these bills to vote and finally pass measures to achieve the envisioned and promised potential for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Getting action in a busy Congress is incredibly tough, so we need your help.
LWCF Needs Promised Funding
Without full and dedicated funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund will not fulfill its promised potential. Each year Congress appropriates the amount of money from LWCF that is disbursed for outdoor recreation and land conservation projects across the country. The law, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, authorizes that $900M is collected each year in the Fund from off-shore oil and gas leases. However, Congress rarely appropriates the full $900M—over the last 50+ years they have averaged less than half, leaving a $22B IOU to the American people. This money is designated for a specific use, and advocates know that LWCF deserves full funding to address a massive backlog of unmet community needs.
LWCF Permanently Reauthorized in 2019
As we look back over 2019, the Appalachian Mountain Club and stakeholders nationwide have much to celebrate about their work to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Efforts to defend America’s most important outdoor recreation and conservation program have been ongoing, both through this past year and prior years. AMC never stops fighting for the natural places we love and the health of our environment.
Most notably, in March 2019, the Land and Water Conservation Fund was permanently reauthorized through the passage of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act. Before this legislative success, LWCF faced periods of expiration and uncertainty. Rising to that challenge, AMC mobilized to #SaveLWCF. The Appalachian Mountain Club is a leader in the national Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, a group of partners that work together on behalf of this essential program. AMC supporters contacted their federal Senators and House Representatives to advocate for LWCF, and they spread the word about necessary outreach to help local voices be heard on Capitol Hill. AMC hike leaders and committed conservationists reached hikers and nature lovers by meeting them where they are at – on the trail – encouraging them to become advocates.
Permanent reauthorization for LWCF represents a major milestone for conservation and a rare victory in a polarized Congress, and everyone at AMC has reason to celebrate. Conservation staff and dedicated chapter members smile, nod, and break into spontaneous applause when this news is highlighted during trailhead talks, club meetings, and at annual dinners. With steady work, good partnerships and passionate voices, we moved the dial on LWCF. And we have kept moving. Isn’t that what hikers and outdoor adventurers do? There is always another mountain to climb.
Your voice is needed. Whether you have been with AMC working on LWCF for years or are just tuning in now, speak up today.
Contact your federal representatives. AMC’s Conservation Action Network hosts an action item asking federal congressional representatives to vote on bills to fully fund LWCF. With both bills having been reported out of Committee and with Congress in session through December 20, 2019, now is our chance.
Lead an LWCF-Focused Outdoor Activity
Policy-focused hikes and outdoor activities help engage outdoor enthusiasts in their favorite settings. AMC makes it easy by providing information and resources to get you started. Visit our Conservation Volunteers landing page to find resources for AMC activity leaders and others.