In an attempt to whitewash the Trump administration’s abysmal record on public lands and wildlife, the President is expected to sign a major bipartisan public lands package. Although the legislation reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the administration’s commitment to the program is all show, evidenced by the President refusing to fund the vital program in his newly released FY2020 Budget.
In response, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger issued the following statement:
The stroke of a pen doesn’t wash away the historic damage being done to our public lands under this administration. Donald Trump and acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt still have a historically negative balance when it comes to public land, public access and park protections.”
While the bipartisan work of Congress to pass this important public lands package is an important step in the right direction, without full funding for public lands access programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, America’s public lands, parks and communities still are left with an empty promise. We need Congress to again do what this administration has failed to do by funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
The LWCF expired under the last Congress, and funding has not been authorized since September 30, 2018, costing the fund approximately $400 million.
The LWCF, created in 1964, uses revenue generated from offshore oil and gas leasing to fund the development of parks and enhance public access among other outdoor recreation projects. The fund has benefited all 50 states and doesn’t cost taxpayers a dime.