The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) welcomed passage of legislation this week in Congress to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as part of a package of bills related to public lands. The public lands package passed the Senate on February 12th with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 92-8 vote. This week’s passage in the House of Representative caps a multi-year legislative effort led by our elected officials and supported by AMC.
“We applaud our elected officials for finally acting to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said AMC President and CEO John Judge. “Champions for the outdoors in the House and Senate from across AMC’s region played a critical role in securing this victory.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a visionary program that directs funds from offshore oil & gas leasing to conservation projects at the Federal, State and local level. Enacted in 1965, the Fund is authorized at $900 million, though Congress consistently funds the program through the yearly appropriations process at closer to $450 million, only half the authorized level.
“AMC is a leader in the national LWCF Coalition, bringing together diverse voices from around the country to advocate for conservation funding through LWCF. Without the engagement of over 1,000 non-profit organizations and hundreds of thousands of AMC members and outdoor enthusiasts, the success of permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund may not have come to be,” said John Judge. “This is not the end of our advocacy on the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as Congress must still live up to the commitment that they have made to the American people to provide full funding to LWCF every year. In the halls of Congress and through our grassroots advocacy, we will continue to pressure our elected officials to support full and dedicated funding for LWCF.”