March 22, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE: Today, Congressional leaders put forth an FY18 omnibus spending bill to cover the remainder of this fiscal year. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF), and the 80,000 hunters and anglers we represent, congratulate and applaud Senator Tom Udall’s hard work in securing $425 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is an extremely popular program that makes public land more accessible to all outdoor recreationists, helps maintain local parks and open spaces, and supports restoration projects across our state.
While this funding inclusion for LWCF is a great first step, NMWF is disappointed that a permanent reauthorization of the fund was not included in the bill. Americans have come to rely on LWCF since it was established over fifty years ago but the program expires on September 30, 2018. The time to full and permanently reauthorize LWCF is now.
“Senator Tom Udall has once again shown his commitment to conservation with his impassioned fight for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We are extremely grateful that he continues to come through for his constituents,” said Todd Leahy, Acting Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “LWCF gives New Mexico important resources to support public land access, restore habitat, and has made iconic landscapes like the Valles Caldera National Preserve possible. We hope that Congress next permanently reauthorizes LWCF. Continuing to fight over it every year is a detriment to the public land users of our state and the country.”
During this most recent budget battle, Senator Udall fought off riders aimed at weakening bedrock programs that protect our clean water and air. He also advocated for programs of critical importance to Native Americans and helped ensure the National Park Service, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies would have the funds they need to continue to do their important work for our public lands and wildlife.
The New Mexico Wildlife Federation applauds Senator Udall’s hard work on these issues, and also encourages the continued work of making sure that LWCF is full reauthorized before the program expires this September.