Washington, D.C. – Today, on the 50th anniversary of its original introduction, a bipartisan group of Senators -- Max Baucus (D-MT), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) -- introduced SB 338 to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a public land acquisition program.
“Today our parks received some Valentine’s Day love,” said Mary Rafferty, parks and conservation program coordinator for Environment America. “I look forward to working with the senators on this important conservation program to protect more places like the Everglades and Rocky Mountain National Park.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy on Feb. 14, 1963. The program sets aside a small portion of revenues the federal government receives from offshore oil drilling royalties, and makes these funds available to protect and expand parks, wildlife refuges, forests and recreation areas. This conservation program has only been fully funded once during its tenure. This bill would provide consistent and reliable authority from Congress to fund the program.
“Our national parks are where some of our most unforgettable memories are formed -- our first childhood hikes, our first time sleeping under the stars, our first encounters with wildlife,” said Rafferty. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the best tools we have to protect our parks from the increased threat of overdevelopment and pollution from mining, drilling and logging.”
“I applaud Senators Baucus, Burr, Graham, Tester, Udall and Wyden for their leadership, and call on all our senators to join them in their work to protect our parks,” Rafferty concluded.