Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed legislation [S.47, the Natural Resources Management Act] that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Passage by the Senate is a major step toward ending the uncertainty that has plagued this landmark conservation program for the past four months, when, due to Congressional inaction, it expired at the end of September 2018.
Since that time, more than $2 million per day in funding for recreation and conservation programs has been lost. LWCF uses revenues derived from oil and gas drilling to conserve public resources across the country – helping improve state parks, preserve landscapes and heritage areas, and develop trails and other recreational opportunities in our Commonwealth.
The overwhelming, bipartisan vote in favor of reauthorization reflects LWCF’s long track record as one of the most important and successful conservation programs in our nation’s history. S.47 also includes a number of other important initiatives such as extending the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to Pittsburgh, the Every Kid Outdoors Program giving every fourth grader in the country free access to America’s public parks, and the 21st Century Conservation Corps, providing opportunities and programs for our veterans and youth to conserve and rebuild natural resources.
Attention now turns to the U.S. House of Representatives to carry the momentum and pass S.47 when they return to session at the end of February. Pennsylvanians can help to ensure final passage of S.47 by contacting their Representatives — here’s how.