House Natural Resources Committee advances key measures to protect oceans and coasts and fund Land and Water Conservation Fund
WASHINGTON -- The House Natural Resources Committee favorably reported out bills today that both protect our oceans from offshore drilling (by a 22-12 vote) and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanently (by a vote of 21-13).
Erik DuMont, Public Lands Conservation Campaign Director for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“Today, we applaud House Natural Resources Committee (HNRC) Chairman Raul Grijalva of Arizona, and Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Joe Cunningham of South Carolina for their strong leadership. By ushering through not only permanent and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but also strong measures to protect our coasts and oceans from damaging oil drilling, they are making an important commitment to our country’s environmental health.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of America’s crown jewel conservation programs. By providing billions of dollars over the past fifty years for conservation projects, it’s served as a central tool for protecting and enhancing some of our most breathtaking national, state and local landmarks. But until now it’s been uncertain from year-to-year just how much support the LWCF could supply. You don’t want that predicament when you are talking about investing in such meaningful treasures as Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. or Denali National Park in Alaska. The same goes for state and territorial parks from Maine to the Northern Mariana Islands. In particular, Environment America gives thanks to Rep. Van Drew for his leadership in making sure this money will now permanently be there for every state and territory in the United States.
In addition, our gratitude goes out to the committee for backing a bill that protects both America’s East and West Coasts by banning oil drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf planning area and the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf planning area. This bill safeguards expanses spanning from Maine to Florida and from San Diego to Seattle. At a time when the use of clean renewable energy is dramatically expanding, this commonsense legislation chooses our oceans and coastal communities over exacerbating climate change with outdated oil drilling. In particular, Environment America applauds Rep. Cunningham for his strong and outspoken leadership on this issue.