Heinrich Secures Land and Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization In Key Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, during a markup in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) secured passage out of committee for bipartisan legislation to both permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America's most successful conservation program," said Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources who has long advocated for the permanent reauthorization and full funding of LWCF. "It protects our drinking water, provides public land access for outdoor recreation, and ensures there are soccer fields and baseball diamonds for our children. In New Mexico, LWCF has helped preserve many treasured places, including the Valles Caldera, Ute Mountain, and Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge. LWCF also expands opportunities for outdoor traditions like hunting, camping, and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture, and a thriving outdoor recreation economy. I will continue to do everything in my power to permanently and fully fund LWCF to ensure that the outdoor places we all treasure will be protected for future generations to enjoy."

The archived video of today's Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources markup is available here.
Congress allowed LWCF-which conserves parks, open spaces, and wildlife habitat for the benefit of hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation-to expire on September 30. LWCF is funded by a portion of federal oil and gas royalties, and operates without any taxpayer funding. Funds from the LWCF have supported more than 42,000 state and local projects in communities across the country. Since its founding in 1965, more than $21 billion has been diverted from the LWCF trust fund to other purposes. Permanent reauthorization and mandatory full funding would restore LWCF funding to its original conservation and outdoor recreation purposes.
In New Mexico, the 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 depends on places that have benefitted from LWCF, is a significant economic driver in the state, supporting 99,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in wages.