Sen. Bennet, colleagues introduce bipartisan bill to permanently fund Land and Water Conservation Fund | CraigDailyPress.com

Sen. Bennet, colleagues introduce bipartisan bill to permanently fund Land and Water Conservation Fund

Craig Press Staff

Outdoor recreation could get a big boost, after Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, with a bipartisan group of colleagues, introduced the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at a level of $900 million.

“After permanently reauthorizing LWCF earlier this year, we now must fulfill our promise to the next generation of Americans by fully funding the program,” Bennet said in a news release. “Consistent full funding will ensure LWCF reaches its potential to protect and promote access to America’s parks, rivers, forests, and public lands. That includes the hundreds of projects in Colorado that span every county and benefit our statewide economy.”

As part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was enacted into law last month (Public Law 116-9), Congress permanently authorized LWCF. However, expenditures from LWCF continue to be subject to federal appropriations. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would remove the requirement that LWCF funds must be appropriated, and instead—for the first time—allocate $900 million each year. 

Outdoor recreation drives economic growth, creates jobs, and produces significant revenues for local communities. LWCF is the key federal investment in a sector that has supported more than 9 million American jobs and contributes over $1 trillion annually to our nation’s economy. Colorado has received around $272 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades. 

Established in 1965, LWCF funds the purchase and development of parks, wildlife refuges, and recreation resources of federal, state, and local lands and facilities. The program provides funding for additions to national parks, national forests and other federal public lands. The state component of the program provides matching grants to states and local communities for investments in facilities, such as parks and trails.

The bill text is available online.