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Shaheen, Leahy, Burr & Collins Lead Bipartisan Letter Pressing For Continuation of Land And Water Conservation Program

(WASHINGTON, DC)– With the expiration of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) fast approaching, a bipartisan coalition of 51 senators led by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Susan Collins (R-ME) is calling on Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Reid to permanently reauthorize and adequately fund the nation’s premier federal conservation program, now in its 50th year.

The authorization for the program expires on September 30, threatening continuation of LWCF’s record of success. Over the past month, Senator Shaheen has been highlighting the importance of LWCF to New Hampshire’s economic growth and environmental stewardship.  Hosting events in Concord with Interior Secretary Jewell, Nashua, and the Ossippee Pine Barrens, Senator Shaheen discussed her track record of supporting the LWCF program and why its impact is vital to New Hampshire communities.

“Investments in LWCF support public land conservation and ensure access to the outdoors for all Americans, in communities and cities alike,” the senators wrote.  “It has created outdoor recreation opportunities in every state and 98 percent of counties across the country, opening up key areas for hunting, fishing and other recreational access; supporting working forests and ranches; acquiring inholdings and protecting critical lands in national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, Civil War battlefields and other federal areas; and making additions and improvements to state and local parks and recreation facilities.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1964 established one of America’s most successful conservation programs.  Using funds primarily derived from oil and gas receipts paid to the federal government by energy companies that extract publically owned resources, the program supports the nation’s land, water, historic and recreational heritage.  The program also supports America’s outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economies, which contribute more than $1 trillion to the nation’s economy each year and support 9.4 million American jobs.

In their request, the senators note that adequate and consistent funding will help ensure that the fund plays the strongest possible role in revitalizing local communities while having the greatest conservation impact across the country.

The senators’ letter can be found here.

Senators signing the letter are: Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan M. Collins (R-ME), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Thomas Carper (D-DE), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Edward Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Christopher Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), James E. Risch (R-ID), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D- NY), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR)