For Immediate Release
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Last night by a unanimous vote the Albuquerque City Council passed a resolution urging Congress to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The New Mexico Wildlife Federation enthusiastically applauds this leadership and vote by our councilmembers.
LWCF is our nation’s most important program to conserve irreplaceable lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in every state, including New Mexico. However, LWCF will expire on September 30th unless Congress acts to reauthorize the program before then. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation thanks Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton for introducing this bill and for their leadership in getting this resolution passed by a unanimous vote.
Since 1965, New Mexico has received more than $312 million dollars from LWCF for over 1,200 projects, including playground equipment and ballfields and state park visitor facilities here in Albuquerque. Our own Tingley Beach, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, and Petroglyph National Monument are amongst the places that have received money from LWCF. Additionally, LWCF’s impact stretches beyond our city by acquiring land from willing sellers to establish and add to our National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and Wildlife Refuges.
Remarkably, this successful program comes at no cost to taxpayers, as LWCF is funded from offshore oil and gas drilling royalties. Yet nearly every year, instead of providing LWCF with its authorized level of $900 million annually, Congress diverts much of this funding to purposes other than conserving our most important lands and waters. The Albuquerque City Council resolution urges Congress to fully fund LWCF, ending this practice.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has had an enormous impact on the people of Albuquerque,” said Albuquerque City Councilor and sponsor of the resolution Pat Davis. “LWCF has greatly improved the quality of living for Burqueños by making safe, green spaces available for families across the city. The passage of our resolution sends a clear message that full funding and permanent reauthorization should be a top priority for our leaders in Congress before the September 30th expiration date.”
“By passing this resolution, our city leaders are highlighting the important impact the Land and Water Conservation Fund has had on urban residents,” said New Mexico Wildlife Federation Acting Executive Director Todd Leahy. “LWCF does more than increase access to public lands in rural sections of the state. It contributes to the playground down the street and the city park where Albuquerque families barbeque. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds the Albuquerque City Council for their leadership in calling for full funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
The Albuquerque City Council resolution follows similar resolutions passed by the City of Santa Fe, Town of Mesilla, and the Bernalillo County Commissioners calling for full LWCF funding and permanent reauthorization. The Albuquerque City Councilors will share the resolution with New Mexico’s Congressional delegation. Now is the time for our entire New Mexico delegation to stand up for permanently reauthorizing and fully funding LWCF before it expires on September 30th.