Public Land Solutions and outdoor businesses lobby Congress in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Business owners discuss the need to fully fund the LWCF
On Tuesday, March 26, Public Land Solutions (PLS) and representatives of outdoor businesses from three states met with their Representatives, as well as staff from the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, to discuss the importance of full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the fiscal year 2020 budget.
Joining Ashley Korenblat from PLS were Dan Lucero, owner of BikeWorksABQ in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Forrest Merithew of Merithew Law in Fort Collins, Colorado; and Vince Venolia of Haro Bikes in Vista, California. The team met with Rep. John Levin from CA-49, Rep. Joe Neguse from CO-2, and with staff for Rep. Debra Haaland from NM-1. The group discussed the importance of LWCF to the recreation
economy in their respective states and districts, and how fully funding the program will help give local communities the tools they need to invest in and enhance recreation assets which contribute significantly to local economies.
In January Congress reauthorized the 50+ year old LWCF to receive up to $900 million every year; however, most often a significant portion of those funds end up being appropriated elsewhere. According to the LWCF Coalition, more than $20 billion worth of funds meant for LWCF have been diverted to other programs.
Utilizing no taxpayer dollars, LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leases in efforts to conserve our public lands, develop recreation amenities, help communities grow, and preserve the nation’s natural history. The LWCF program can be divided into the “State side” which provides grants to state and local governments for assets like playgrounds and community trails, and the “Federal side,” which is used to acquire lands, waters, and interests.
“There is broad-based, bipartisan support for LWCF, but we have some work to do on the details,” said Ashley Korenblat. “We need to get beyond the conversations of federal funds vs. state funds, and make sure we’re meeting all of the needs. Lots of communities are clamoring for LWCF funding because there is a pent-up demand for recreation assets.”
You can read Public Land Solutions’ previous LWCF coverage here: