U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich this week joined 39 other U.S. senators in calling on Senate leadership to work with them to find a permanent funding solution for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund guarantees a prosperous and vital future for the next generation while preserving our uniquely American way of life across this nation,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Accordingly, we urge you to enact a permanent and comprehensive solution for this vital program before the 113th Congress adjourns.”
The LWCF has helped create and protect urban parks and open spaces that enhance recreation and outdoor opportunities in urban and rural communities alike. The LWCF is funded almost entirely by oil and gas leasing along the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Congress authorized the fund at $900 million through the end of the fiscal year, on Sept. 30, 2015.
Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1964 to help state and local governments conserve open spaces for the benefit of all Americans. For Fiscal Year 2014, $507,107 has been allocated to support projects in New Mexico. Since its inception, more than $4 billion has been made available for state and local governments to fund over 40,000 projects across the nation. A recent analysis found that every $1 invested in land acquisition generated a $4 return on the investment for communities.
The letter was signed by 39 other senators: Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Richard Burr, R-N.C.; Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; John Walsh, D-Mont.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Joe Manchin, D-W.V.; Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Angus King, I-Maine; Kay Hagan, D-N.C.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Ben Cardin, D-Md.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Penn.; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Mark Udall, D-Colo.; Tim Kaine, D-Va.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Text of the letter is available HERE.