WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 19, 2019) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is calling for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to move forward with permanent and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that will help preserve and protect public lands in New Mexico, and also ensure outdoor recreation in urban and neighborhood settings. Senator Heinrich also asked that the committee continue to work in a bipartisan manner to fix maintenance backlogs at all four public land agencies, not just the National Park Service (NPS), but also to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
Earlier this year, Senator Heinrich joined with a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at a level of $900 million. As part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which was enacted into law in March (Public Law 116-9), Congress permanently authorized the LWCF. However, expenditures from the LWCF must still be approved by Congress each year. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would remove the requirement that LWCF funds be appropriated annually, instead, making $900 million available each year without annual action by Congress.
In New Mexico, LWCF has invested more than $312 million to protect public lands and open spaces and increase recreational opportunities. New Mexico's $9.9 billion outdoor industry - which is built around places that have benefited from LWCF - is a significant economic driver in the state, supporting 99,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in wages.