US Senator Gardner, Bipartisan Senators Introduce Amendment to Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Interior, Environment, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for fiscal year 2020. The LWCF was permanently reauthorized in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act of 2019. However, it has only been funded to its maximum authorization level of $900 million dollars twice in its history.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the crown jewel for conservation projects in Colorado, and now that we were successful in permanently reauthorizing the LWCF, the next step is to make the funding automatic,” said Senator Gardner. “While those conversations are ongoing, it is important to show that we are committed to fully funding the program, and that’s what this amendment does. Our beautiful public lands rely on this critical conservation program, and it’s time for Congress to fully and permanently fund it.”
“After ten years, our work to permanently reauthorize LWCF paid off earlier this year with the passage of the lands package,” said Senator Bennet. “Now, we must fulfill our promise to the next generation of Americans by fully funding the program. This amendment will provide full funding for LWCF, ensuring the program reaches its full potential this year.”
“I have been a proud advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s most successful conservation program, for more than a decade,” said Senator Burr. “It’s our responsibility to preserve our nation’s natural landscapes for our children and grandchildren, and by fully funding this important program, at no cost to taxpayers, we can do just that. I appreciate Senator Gardner’s leadership in introducing this amendment and for my colleagues continued commitment to conserving our nation’s public lands.”
“We need to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to guarantee that it will continue expanding opportunities for outdoor traditions like hunting, camping, and fishing,” said Senator Heinrich. “In New Mexico, LWCF has helped preserve many treasured public lands—including the Valles Caldera, Ute Mountain, and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge—that power our thriving outdoor recreation economy. It also protects our drinking water, provides public land access, and ensures there are neighborhood parks, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds for our children. This is a bipartisan effort and I will continue to do everything in my power to fully fund LWCF to ensure that the outdoor places we all treasure will be protected for future generations to enjoy.”
“LWCF is a critical tool to preserve the Montana way of life and protect our public lands for future generations,” said Senator Daines. “I will continue fighting for full funding of LWCF through every avenue possible—including this bipartisan amendment.”
“For a vital program critical to Montana’s $7.1 billion outdoor economy, anything less than the full $900 million authorized for LWCF is not enough,” said Senator Tester. “The Senate could fully and permanently fund LWCF tomorrow, if Senate leadership stepped up to the plate. Instead this program continues to languish below its authorized levels because of their unwillingness to get it across the finish line.”
“LWCF is our country’s most important and successful conservation and outdoor recreation program,” said Senator Collins. “This amendment would provide full funding for LWCF and build on our bipartisan success of permanently reauthorizing the program. Through these efforts, we can help to ensure both current and future generations can enjoy the beauty of natural resources in Maine and across the county.”
“Earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans came together to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to ensure our most treasured sites in New Hampshire and across the country are protected and preserved for generations to come. This amendment continues that bipartisan promise by guaranteeing the funding is there for LWCF to maintain these beautiful lands and wildlife,” said Senator Shaheen. “The LWCF’s conservation efforts benefit our environment and our outdoor recreation economy, which is why I’ll continue to work across the aisle to deliver the resources this program needs to meet these goals.”
“For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped protect national parks, preserve watersheds and create new outdoor recreation opportunities for communities eager to explore the outdoors. The broad, bipartisan support for Sen. Gardner’s amendment illustrates how important it is for Congress to keep its promise to the American people and conserve our natural world. Earlier this year, lawmakers came together in that same bipartisan spirit to permanently reauthorize LWCF, and we urge them to come together again and fully fund it,” said Kameran Onley, director of U.S. government relations at The Nature Conservancy.
This group of senators also partnered in April to introduce a bill to permanently fund the LWCF at a level of $900 million.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.