Not exactly front-page news to the mainstream media, but it's pretty big news to us. Congress recently approved increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Revenues for program, created in 1965, come from offshore oil and gas leases. LWCF benefits are far-reaching. According to Will Rogers, President of the Trust for Public Lands. “This program protects lands and jobs across the nation, from local parks and trails to Civil War battlefields and local forestry jobs in New England and Montana, to the Sierra Nevada in California.”
In a news release announcing the funding increase, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition (TU is a member), pointed out that outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation contribute $1.06 trillion annually to the U.S. economy, and support 9.4 million – or 1 out of every 15 - American jobs. The coalition lauded the efforts of a number of members of Congress, including Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Representative Scott Tipton (3rd District) of Cortez.
This year’s LWCF appropriation will increase to a shade under 323 million. If there’s a down-side, it’s that more than $900 million in offshore royalties are deposited into a special trust fund each year, so there’s still room for improvement. You can learn more about the LWCF at lwcfcoalition.org.