11.19.15

Leahy Continues Leading Role In Bipartisan Push To Reauthorize And Fund The Nation’s Premier Conservation Fund

. . . Land And Water Conservation Fund Is Under Attack In The House

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2015) – Ratcheting up a bipartisan effort to reauthorize a longstanding conservation program, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this week joined a coalition of 14 senators calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid to move to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and provide full mandatory funding for the program.  Leahy also led a separate bipartisan letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies urging strong funding for the LWCF and the Forest Legacy Program in Fiscal Year 2016. The authorization for the LWCF expired in September after 50 years of funding conservation work in communities in Vermont and across the nation.  

Leahy and other senators wrote Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid:  “For the economy, sportsmen, veterans, wildlife and our kids and grandkids, we must permanently reauthorize LWCF – it is America’s most successful conservation program.  We also strongly request that you include mandatory full funding in any must-pass year end legislation.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 established one of America’s most successful conservation programs.  Using funds primarily derived from oil and gas receipts paid to the federal government by energy companies that extract publically owned resources – not using tax dollars -- the program supports the nation’s land, water, historic and recreational heritage.  The program also supports America’s outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economies, which contribute more than $1 trillion to the nation’s economy each year and support 9.4 million American jobs.  Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has long supported the LWCF and promoted its success in communities across Vermont and the country.

The letter to Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid, led by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), was also signed by Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kelly A. Ayotte (R-N.H.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

Leahy’s letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, in which Leahy was joined by Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Kelly A. Ayotte (R-N.H.).

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