WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives today finalized the 2020 fiscal year appropriations package and proposed $495 million as funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). At the beginning of the year, Congress voted to permanently reauthorize the LWCF in an overwhelming bipartisan vote. However, there is no current requirement to fully fund the program at its mandated $900 million total.
Jamie Lockwood, conservation associate at Environment America, issued the following statement:
“We are grateful that the FY20 Appropriations package proposes $495 million for the LWCF, which is the highest annual amount set aside for this vital program in the last 17 years. Every step toward full, dedicated funding is a victory, and the money that the LWCF receives this year will not only continue to preserve land vital to the American identity, but it will also increase outdoor access for communities all over the United States. We thank the members of Congress and our coalition partners who continue to prioritize our nation’s most successful conservation and recreation program, and for all that we were able to accomplish this year, including permanent reauthorization of the program.
“However, we also recognize that $405 million is still being diverted away from the LWCF for non-conservation related projects. This is unacceptable. Protecting national treasures such as the Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains and Appalachian Trail as well as neighborhood playgrounds and ball parks are at the heart of the LWCF. With that in mind the program that has funded the lands we cherish deserves full, dedicated funding. We look to bipartisan legislation currently under consideration with co-sponsorship from more than 50 percent of both chambers as the solution to this problem. Simply put, future generations deserve the same access to parks and public lands that we have enjoyed.”