NRPA Endorses House Committee Approval of Full and Dedicated Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

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The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and advocates for parks, recreation and environmental conservation celebrated the vote of a key House Committee today to include full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in a bill that would broadly reform oil and gas drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

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We urge Congress to keep sight of the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to our nation’s communities by approving full and dedicated funding for the LWCF and ensuring that there is an equal allocation of LWCF funds to the state and federal sides of the program, so that the benefits of this investment may be brought to all communities in America.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and advocates for parks, recreation and environmental conservation celebrated the vote of a key House Committee today to include full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in a bill that would broadly reform oil and gas drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.

The House Natural Resources Committee approved the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009, known as the CLEAR Act, H.R. 3534, by a vote of 27-21. This bill will provide full and dedicated funding for the LWCF, an important program to conserve our nation’s natural resources and provide outdoor recreation opportunities for the American public.

Funding for the LWCF, which comes from conservation royalties from the proceeds of oil and gas drilling leases, has been subject to the annual appropriations process since its inception in 1965. Only once during the 45-year history of the program has Congress appropriated the full amount of $900 million that is annually authorized for the LWCF program.

Full and dedicated funding for the LWCF has been a goal of advocates for parks, recreation and conservation for more than four decades. The CLEAR Act will fully fund the LWCF at its congressionally authorized level of $900 million per year, providing funds to protect our nation’s land and water and providing parks and outdoor recreation facilities for public use.

“If the disaster in the Gulf has taught us anything, it is that we need to understand the trade offs and benefits from oil and gas drilling, and to be proactive rather than reactive to ensure that the American public receives a benefit from such drilling, while at the same time ensuring solid protective measures for the environment,” said Barbara Tulipane, CEO of NRPA.

The LWCF is comprised of a Federal and State Assistance program that work together to ensure that future generations have access to national, and state and local parks, wildlife refuges, forests and outdoor recreation resources—in perpetuity.

“By providing full and dedicated funding for the LWCF, the House Natural Resources Committee has taken an important step to protect our nation’s natural resources and provide recreation opportunities for all Americans,” said Tulipane. “However, efforts to address national issues such as responding to climate change, conserving natural resources, and solving the childhood obesity epidemic will be successful only if implemented at the community level.”

“We urge Congress to keep sight of the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to our nation’s communities by approving full and dedicated funding for the LWCF and ensuring that there is an equal allocation of LWCF funds to the state and federal sides of the program, so that the benefits of this investment may be brought to all communities in America.”

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of roughly 21,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.

Headquartered in Ashburn, Va., NRPA works closely with local, state, and national recreation and park agencies, citizen groups and corporations to carry out its objectives. Priorities include advocating favorable legislation and public policy; continuing education for park and recreation professionals and citizens; providing professional certification, university accreditation, research and technical assistance; and, increasing public awareness of the importance of parks and recreation. For more information, visit http://www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit http://www.parksandrec-magazine.org.

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