New Guidance Removes Roadblocks to Access Conservation Funding
The Appalachian Mountain Club welcomes an order from Acting Secretary of the Interior Scott de la Vega that reverses damaging actions taken by the previous Administration on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Acting Secretary issued Secretarial Order 3396 on February 11, 2021, to remove roadblocks for accessing LWCF dollars for conservation and recreation projects across the country. LWCF has a 56-year proven track record as America’s most important and successful conservation and outdoor recreation program, benefiting communities in every state and county.
Honoring the intent of Congress, this week’s Secretarial Order reverses restrictions on federal conservation projects, critical state and local grant funding, and restores the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (OLRP), which improves outdoor access for underserved communities. Equitable access to the outdoors is vital to the health and wellbeing of communities. AMC is pleased to see the Biden Administration has fully reinstated funding to the ORLP program—supporting parks and green spaces in underserved areas that need it most.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, Americans are showing how essential it is to be able to access public land and water for both physical and mental health,” said John Judge, President and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club. “AMC applauds the Administration’s support for implementing the Great American Outdoors Act in line with Congress’s overwhelming bipartisan mandate, unleashing the true power of a fully funded Land and Water Conservation Fund to aid our nation’s recovery from the pandemic, address the climate crisis, and connect all people with the outdoors. We are excited to see LWCF finally put to work as it should have been more than 50 years ago.”
The announcement came just a day after a bipartisan group of 90 lawmakers, led by Representatives Jared Golden, D-Maine, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., wrote to the Acting Secretary of the Interior requesting the repeal of “harmful changes and restrictions” to LWCF ordered by the Trump Administration at the very end of its term.