Today, Montana-based conservation watchdog group Western Values Project (WVP) Action announced a multi-platform ad campaign calling on Senators McSally (R-AZ), Gardner (R-CO), and Daines (R-MT) to follow through on their promise to permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – America’s most effective public lands, public access and parks tool.
The campaign includes digital, print, and billboard advertising in the three states, which will run throughout the summer. The campaign urges constituents to visit TellMcSally.org, TellGardner.org and TellDaines.org, hyperlinked in these print ads, to tell their Senator to show leadership on this issue
“For over five decades, the LWCF has been one of the most important and popular programs for protecting and conserving public lands, maintaining and creating parks and providing access to lands — especially in Western states like Arizona, Colorado, and Montana,” said Chris Saeger, Executive Director of the Western Values Project. “It’s time for Western Senators McSally, Gardner, and Daines to stop dragging their feet. They have committed to fully funding a permanently reauthorized LWCF, but we need leadership on this issue. If their promises aren’t just for political gain, then they must stand up to the special interests blocking LWCF funding and be a visible champion for their constituents and for America’s public lands.”
Earlier this year, President Trump signed a bipartisan public lands package that permanently reauthorized the LWCF. However, the program still needs to receive dedicated funding — which the president nearly zeroed out in his most recent budget proposal, with the blessing of anti-public lands Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Sens. McSally, Gardner, and Daines are integral to standing up to an administration hostile to public lands protections by ensuring that the LWCF is fully funded.
Sen. Joe Manchin recently introduced a bill to fully and permanently fund the program at $900 million, which was cosponsored by 40 Senators, including Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT). Sen. McSally has yet to cosponsor the legislation, but she has previously voted to reauthorize the LWCF, attributing and dedicating the legislation to the late Senator John McCain. But the program currently hangs in the balance and needs dedicated funding immediately.
The LWCF has been critically important for Western states’ public lands. In Arizona, the LWCF has invested over $243 million over the past five decades and supported more than 30 projects to improve public lands in Arizona, including improvements to all three of Arizona’s national parks. In Colorado, the LWCF has invested more than $278.6 million and supported nearly 50 projects, including all four of the state’s national parks. And in Montana, the LWCF has invested more than $619.7 million and supported nearly 40 projects, including improvements to both of Montana’s national parks.