Provisions in U.S. Senate bill will fund preservation

Media Contacts
Channing Jones

Sen. Whitehouse applauded for role in ocean protection measures

Environment Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, RI— This week the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive transportation and infrastructure bill, including an amendment (1822) to set aside $700 million to conservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and to establish a National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) which will dedicate resources to conserving and restoring oceans and coastal areas. The NEO provisions were proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

“The people of Rhode Island understand better than anyone the importance of protecting the marine environment and our other treasured places,” said Channing Jones, Associate with advocacy group Environment Rhode Island. “We applaud the Senate for passing this important amendment, and we thank Senator Whitehouse for proposing measures to strengthen ocean protection.”

The $700 million dedicated by the amendment to the Land & Water Conservation Fund comes as a more than 50% increase in conservation funding over this year’s appropriation. LWCF protects waterways, wildlife, and open spaces, while providing communities with recreational access and bolstering local economies.

The National Endowment for the Oceans, through interest from Clean Water Act penalties from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will distribute grant money for habitat restoration, fisheries management, and coastal planning, preservation, and infrastructure.

“The funding this amendment provides will protect our oceans, coastal areas, and other natural places that Rhode Islanders treasure,” said Jones. “With partisan gridlock in Congress, Senator Whitehouse has again proven himself a champion for environmental protection. We call on the House of Representatives to support these critical provisions.”