May 8, 2018
For immediate release
ALBUQUERQUE: Today, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation is proud to release a report highlighting the many positive impacts the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has had throughout New Mexico and across the country. With LWCF facing a September 30th expiration date, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation hopes this report will bring attention to the need for Congress to reauthorize this important conservation program before this deadline.
Created by Congress in 1964, LWCF has been one of our nation’s most successful and popular programs for safeguarding natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and providing recreation opportunities to all Americans. This program comes at no cost to taxpayers as funds are provided from royalties on offshore oil and gas leasing. Funds from the program support state and federal projects which can include everything from city park maintenance to federal land acquisition to restoration projects.
In January 2018, the Trump administration proposed an almost 90 percent cut to the program. This coming Thursday, May 10, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke comes before the Senate Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee to defend that budget request. Senator Tom Udall (NM) is the Ranking Member on that Subcommittee and a committed champion for reauthorizing and fully funding LWCF.
The New Mexico Wildlife Federation calls on our elected officials to permanently reauthorize this fund and allocate the full funding to the program. Fully reauthorizing the program and making sure funds don’t get diverted would go a long way in supporting our public lands and conservation projects across the country.
The report breaks down numbers across the country and highlights four successes in New Mexico including Petroglyph National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Tingley Recreation Area, and Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Taking a deep dive into the land purchases, restoration, and maintenance services funded by LWCF, the report highlights crucial programs that open up access to our public lands, expand local recreation facilities, and protect our outdoor experiences.
“The New Mexico Wildlife Federation is honored to continue our work highlighting the importance of LWCF with the release of this report today,” said Todd Leahy, Acting Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “By distributing the report online and in person to key elected officials and the public at large, we hope to bring more awareness to the need for a fully funded and permanently reauthorized LWCF. With all the LWCF has provided New Mexicans over the years in terms of public lands access, we let this program languish at a great disservice to future generations.”
The report is available on our website at: http://nmwildlife.org/news/land-water-conservation-fund-report/.