U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, applauded the inclusion of permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015. Authorization for LWCF, which was established in 1965, is set to expire on September 30.
“There are fewer than 70 days before the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires,” said Sen. Heinrich. “This critical conservation program protects our drinking water, provides public land access for sportsmen, and ensures there are soccer fields and baseball diamonds for our children. In New Mexico, LWCF has helped preserve many of our treasured places, such as the Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge, Bandelier National Monument, and many city parks across the state. These are special places that families go back to year after year, generation after generation, to camp, hunt, fish, hike, and play sports. Reauthorizing LWCF will help ensure that the outdoor places we all treasure will be protected for future generations to enjoy.”
Senator Heinrich has consistently fought to protect LWCF. He is an original cosponsor of, S. 890, a bill to permanently authorize and fully fund the LWCF. The program has helped protect many of New Mexico’s cherished landscapes and wildlife refuges, including the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Petroglyph National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument Santa Fe National Forest, and Valle de Oro Wildlife Refuge. The program also helps support the state’s outdoor recreation economy. In New Mexico, outdoor recreation activities generate $6.1 billion annually in consumer spending and are directly responsible for 68,000 jobs.
Using revenues from offshore oil and gas development, the LWCF provides funding for additions to national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other federal public lands, making it the principal source of funds for federal acquisition of lands for outdoor recreation, habitat preservation and protection of special natural, cultural, and historic resources. The program also provides matching grants to states and localities for in outdoor recreation facilities such as parks and playing fields, as well as grants to state forestry and state game and fish departments to fund conservation easements on working landscapes and restore wildlife habitat restoration.