LWCF Expires - Congress Can Still Appropriate Funds For Program

On September 30, Congress allowed America's most important conservation and recreation program to expire. For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has kept a simple promise to the American people: When we drill for offshore oil and gas that belongs to all Americans, we put a little of the proceeds aside as a conservation offset that gives back something lasting and meaningful -- protecting parks and other places we care about.

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell criticized Congress for not acting. “I am extremely disappointed that, despite overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress has allowed this innovative and effective program to expire,” she said. “I join mayors, governors, and Americans across the country in urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund in order to honor our nation’s outdoor heritage and provide resources to local communities who want to invest in conservation, historic preservation and recreation opportunities.”

Although the program expired, Congress could still appropriate money for it in annual spending bills, such as the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Interior Appropriations bill or a FY2016 omnibus spending bill. Also, legislation introduced in Congress to permanently reauthorize LWCF continues to gain bipartisan support, with 
184 cosponsors in the House and 18 cosponsors in the Senate. Most recently, to reauthorize the law the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislation (S. 2012) on July 30 that would extend LWCF permanently. However, no further action was taken on the underlying legislation or efforts to reauthorize LWCF before its expiration.

Landscape architects access LWCF to plan and design local community parks and recreation facilities. ASLA will continue to push for the reauthorization and full funding of this critical program. The Society and its advocacy partners are confident that the congressional bipartisan support and continued voice from the grassroots community will help capitalize on upcoming opportunities to renew LWCF.

ASLA urges all its members to continue to fight for LWCF by reaching out to your legislators on Capitol Hill to 
SEND YOUR MESSAGES and/or TWEETS expressing your concern for continuing the program.


Kevin Fry
Director, PR and

JR Taylor
PR Coordinator