Washington, D.C. – December 21, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Senate approved a year-end budget package by a vote of 65-33. The package included a 3-year reauthorization of and a 1-year 47-percent increase in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Throughout this Congress, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has urged the Senate to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the LWCF. This program protects national parks, forests, public lands and historical sites, and it provides opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreational uses.
“LWCF is a critical tool to protect our open spaces in Washington and around the country. This increase in real funding and 3-year reauthorization will allow us to do important work in our state. I will continue to push for a permanent authorization,” Sen. Cantwell said.
The authorization for this critical program expired for the first time in its 50-year history on September 30. The LWCF supports more than $656 billion in economic activity and more than 6 million jobs nationwide. In the state of Washington alone, active outdoor recreation contributes more than $11.7 billion annually to the economy and it produces $8.5 billion annually in retail sales and services across the state. It is a successful program, good for both the environment and the economy.
In October, along with Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sen. Cantwell urged immediate action on reauthorization of the nation’s most successful conservation program. Sen. Cantwell sought to permanently reauthorize the program on the Senate floor, but Sen. James Lankford objected. Sen. Cantwell also sent a letter to Republican leadership, offering to work together to “expedite consideration and debate” on a bill to reauthorize the program.
Earlier this year, Sen. Cantwell introduced S. 890, a bill to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the program, and included provisions in both the bipartisan energy bill (S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act) and the Democratic energy bill she authored (S. 2089, the American Energy Innovation Act).