U.S. Senators Sign Letter in Support of Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund
New Hampshire’s United States Senators joined fourty-three of their colleagues in signing onto a letter in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Congress voted overwhelmingly in recent years to secure the future of this critical program, and end the diversion of its funds to other, unrelated purposes. The Dingell Act of 2019 made LWCF’s authorization and unique structure permanent, while the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) of 2020 guaranteed full, permanent, dedicated funding. Both bills passed by massive bipartisan margins, making a definitive statement in support of LWCF as a uniquely constructed, common-sense concept that proceeds from public resource extraction will be dedicated to the protection of our country’s special and unique natural areas.
FY23 and each year thereafter, it is still up to Congress to decide how that money is allocated among LWCF subprograms in the annual appropriations process, and its continuing oversight of projects and implementation is crucial.
The Senate letter asks the Senate Appropriation Committee to ensure there is a balanced allocation of funds between the federal agency priorities and state and local grant programs under the LWCF umbrella. This is important to ensure the LWCF will provide outdoor recreation opportunities in every state.
In New Hampshire, it has funded major additions to the White Mountain National Forest and the establishment of the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. It has supported Forest Legacy projects, placing permanent conservation easements on privately owned forest lands, like the 146,100 acre Connecticut Headwaters conservation easement in Coos County, and the Moose Mountains Reservation (owned by the Forest Society) in Middleton and Brookfield.
Just as importantly, the request by the Senators will keep the focus on the need for the overdue maintenance needs the National Forest and National Park systems are facing like aging infrastructure facilities, trails, and outdated visitor amenities.
Both of New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators signed onto this letter. We would encourage readers to thank both Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan for their support of the LWCF.