WASHINGTON, September 28, 2018  –  Congress has failed to preserve America’s most effective conservation program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will expire at midnight on Sunday. Statement from Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society

It’s simply inexcusable that Congress would fail to save the nation’s most effective conservation program. Every day this 54-year-old program is not reauthorized, American families are shortchanged by $2.4 million that would have been invested in land conservation, local parks and rec centers. Congress must permanently reauthorize the program and provide for full, dedicated funding.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) invests outdoor recreation sites that range from local ballfields to national parks — all at no cost to taxpayers. The Conservation Fund is a key component in the nation’s healthy outdoor recreation economy, which generates more than $887 billion in annual consumer spending and supports 7.6 million American jobs.

Since it was signed into law in 1964, this program has enjoyed bipartisan support. Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) have introduced a bill, S. 569, to permanently reauthorize the program and provide full, dedicated funding. The House Natural Resources Committee recently approved permanent reauthorization.

The September 30 expiration casts the time-tested program into uncertainty nationwide. Immediate action is needed to reinstate this popular bi-partisan program with full, dedicated funding.

Funded by federal oil royalties from offshore drilling in public waters, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped Americans in virtually every county in the U.S. enjoy the great outdoors on the public lands that they own.

The Wilderness Society, founded in 1935, is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. With more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. www.wilderness.org.