Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that, following their push, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been permanently reauthorized. The LWCF has been instrumental in preserving some of the nation’s most important and iconic public spaces, and has invested more than $336 million in funding to protect public lands, water resources, and historic sites across New York State. Additionally, according to the Outdoor Recreation Association, outdoor recreation projects and sites annually generate approximately $41.8 billion in consumer spending and provide 313,000 jobs throughout New York State alone. Schumer and Gillibrand cosponsored legislation to permanently reauthorize the LWCF before it expired last year, but Congress did not pass it and let the program expire. In this new Congress, Schumer and Gillibrand successfully fought to include the reauthorization in the Natural Resources Management Act, which was signed into law on Tuesday.
“I’m proud to announce that, following our push, permanent reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – the nation’s premier conservation program — has been signed into law,” said Senator Schumer. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided millions in federal funding over decades to protect many of New York’s breathtaking natural treasures and historical landmarks. In the process, it has contributed to preserving hundreds of acres of parks, generating billions in economic activity, and helping create over 300,000 jobs in the outdoor economy of New York. Passage of this critical legislation will help ensure that New Yorkers and tourists alike can continue to enjoy the state’s spectacular public lands, natural areas and historical sites for generations to come.”
“I’m very excited to announce that the Land and Water Conservation Fund has just been permanently reauthorized. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the most important programs we have to protect our nation’s natural and historic treasures. In New York, it has played a key role in preserving landmark sites such as the Adirondack Lakes, the Saratoga Battlefield National Historical Park, and Coney Island Boardwalk” said Senator Gillibrand. “It’s an absolute shame that Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire last year, which is why I fought to make the program permanent and ensure that our nation’s resources can be preserved for generations to come. I will always fight to protect the natural beauty and historic legacy of New York State, and I’m proud to see this legislation signed into law.”
The LWCF has provided funding to protect sites of natural and historic importance throughout the country for over 50 years. The LWCF does not rely on taxpayer funds and instead uses revenue collected from offshore oil and gas development to purchase lands from willing sellers for the purposes of conservation. It also provides grants to states for recreation planning, acquisition of lands and waters, and facility development. Permanent reauthorization of the LWCF would provide consistent funding for projects overseen by the program to help preserve national parks and wilderness areas across the country.