Nevada’s public lands once again come up short in Congressional budget deal

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Levi Kamolnick

Thursday’s vote offered conservation advocates familiar disappointments alongside modest wins

Environment Nevada

Following lengthy negotiations, this week Congress handed down final passage of fiscal 2020 spending to fund the government, including much needed federal funding for conservation. The finalized budget allocates $495 million to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a critical conservation program that provides grant funding to parks, forests and recreation areas that Americans enjoy every day. Although the new budget reflects a modest increase from the previous year, it comes well short of fully funding the program’s mandate. 

“57 million more dollars to support recreation, sportsmanship, and conservation is not inconsequential, but unfortunately still leaves us $400 million away from fully funding an invaluable conservation program. Shortchanging LWCF means we all lose out on adequate funds for our public lands,” said Levi Kamolnick, Environment Nevada State Director. 

Despite ever-increasing visitation to LWCF-funded sites, year after year Congress has declined to fully fund the program at its $900 million allotment. 

“Here in Nevada, we’re lucky that the majority of our Congressional delegation is on the right side of this issue, but so far the Senate majority has shown little interest in listening. Now that this budget is set, the voices of states with huge swaths of federal land like Nevada will be more important than ever in getting standalone legislation for full and permanent LWCF funding across the finish line,” said Kamolnick.