Environment New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Bernalillo County Commission voted unanimously to support reauthorization and full funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is set to expire at the end of September if Congress does not act. The resolution calls for swift action from Congress to fully fund and permanently reauthorize LWCF.
The resolution highlights some of the places in Bernalillo County and across the state that have been created in part through LWCF funding. They include Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola National Forest, Tingley Beach, Petroglyph National Monument, and Heritage Hills and Rio Bravo parks in Bernalillo county and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Valles Caldera National Preserve.
“The Land & Water Conservation Fund has helped protect and preserve some of the best of New Mexico for future generations,” said Sanders Moore, director of Environment New Mexico. “People come from all over the world to visit places in our state that may not be conserved if not for this critical program; we applaud the County Commission and urge Congress to act before it’s too late.”
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was created in 1965 from royalties from offshore oil and gas development and invests that money in protecting important public lands for future generations. While LWCF is authorized to receive $900 million annually, it has only been fully funded twice in 50 years and has instead been used for non-related purposes.
“We are fortunate to have so many places in Bernalillo County that have benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Bernalillo County Commission Chairwoman Maggie Hart Stebbins. “We are hopeful that Congress reauthorizes LWCF and fully funds this important program.”
LWCF has brought $261 million to New Mexico and $42 million of that has been spent on local and state projects. The outdoor industry supports 68,000 jobs across New Mexico and generates $6.1 billion in consumer spending. Every county in New Mexico has received funding from LWCF, including Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Tent Rocks National Monument, and the Gila and Santa Fe National Forests.
Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich have both sponsored efforts to reauthorize and fully fund LWCF and have both long been champions for it.