News

LWCF to Expire in 28 Days


2015-09-01
The nation’s most important conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), is set to expire in approximately 28 days if Congress does not take action to renew and fund the program.

Reaching historic battlefields, community parks, urban forests, land conservation, and more, LWCF has had an impact in every state and 98 percent of U.S. counties. Inaction from Congress will result in the expiration of the 50-year old program that has a history of providing critical community parks and recreational spaces, many designed by landscape architects, across the country.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost. A large bipartisan contingency in both chambers of Congress is pushing to continue the program, introducing legislation that would either permanently reauthorize the program and/or fully fund it as well. Most recently, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed
energy legislation that would continue the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The deal, struck by Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (WA) would permanently reauthorize LWCF while setting federal and “stateside” allocations each at 40 percent along with 20 percent in “flex” funding that could be appropriated to either account with congressional discretion.

LWCF advocates have high hopes that the energy legislation will pass the full Senate soon after the August recess. But, with the clock ticking, including an LWCF authorization in an appropriations continuing resolution bill could be more likely. ASLA urges all its advocates to
contact their legislators about supporting reauthorization of LWCF before the program expires on September 30.

As the battle to renew LWCF continues, Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) has introduced legislation that would strengthen the state and local assistance portion of the program. The
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program Act (S. 1995) would provide a dedicated funding source to the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLPP), a competitive grant program for urban park and recreation projects. Specifically, the funding would come from proceeds from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) of 2006.

Under the legislation, the LWCF stateside account could begin receiving up to $125 million dollars in addition to the annual congressional appropriation starting in fiscal year 2017. Up to $25 million of those GOMESA funds going to LWCF would be allocated to the ORLPP. ASLA applauds the introduction of S.1995 and has joined the Trust for Public Land, the National Recreation and Parks Association, and others in supporting the bill.

Contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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