15. February 2018 · Comments Off on Trump pushes 90% cut to America’s most important public lands program · Categories: Public Lands

Here’s what the Land and Water Conservation Fund does

As part of a budget proposal that amounts to a Valentine to special interests, the Trump administration wants devastating cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been called America’s most important conservation tool. Learn more here.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 federal budget proposal would cut the long-running and popular Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to the bone, reducing its budget by roughly 90%. LWCF was designed so there would always be money available for its core purpose of protecting land in order to complete national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and other protected sites, without burdening American taxpayers. For over 50 years, it has drawn on revenues from oil and gas drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf to pay into thousands of projects nationwide, gaining popularity across the political spectrum.

But despite broad bipartisan support for the program, billions of dollars have been diverted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund by Congress over the course of the program’s life to pay for unrelated expenses, leaving many outdoor projects unfinished and parcels of land unprotected. In recent years, funding for LWCF has hovered around one-third of the full authorized level, even as new pressures intrude on wildlands and shared spaces become developed, fragmented or otherwise damaged.

The Trump proposal would devastate this popular program already hanging on for dear life, representing the single largest cut in the already weakened Department of the Interior’s budget. We will ask lawmakers to reject Trump’s reckless budget and persist with a larger campaign to demand permanent reauthorization and full funding for LWCF.

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