On Sunday, Sept. 30, Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of our country’s most important conservation funding mechanisms, expire. It’s disappointing that reauthorizing such a common-sense program that has such wide bipartisan support is such a challenge, but we’re actually feeling pretty positive about the prospects for permanent reauthorization before the end of the year.
We’ve written a lot about LWCF before. LWCF helps to fund the acquisition of new public lands and waters, facilitate trail maintenance and outdoor recreation infrastructure, and create new parks using revenue from off-shore energy royalties. The program has been around since 1964 and expired most recently in 2015.
Even though the program expired, we feel hopeful about the chances of permanent reauthorization. Right now, a solid LWCF reauthorization bill has cleared a key House committee that had previously been a major sticking point, and a long list of cosponsors (you can find the current list for the Senate bill here) support reauthorization in both the House and Senate. We think it’s possible that LWCF could be reauthorized among a package of other recreation and outdoor bills before the end of the year.
To make sure that happens, though, it’s important for you to write to your lawmakers and tell them that LWCF matters to you. We will keep you in the loop as your voice is needed and as reauthorization progresses.