Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Legislation To Reauthorize Land And Water Conservation Fund

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Sterling Forest State Park (Photo source: NY Parks)

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that, following their push, the Natural Resources Management Act that just passed the Senate permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF has been instrumental in preserving some of and the nation’s most important and iconic public spaces, and has invested more than $336 million in funding to protect public lands, water resources, and historic sites across New York State.

Additionally, according to the Outdoor Recreation Association, outdoor recreation projects and sites annually generate approximately $41.8 billion in consumer spending and provide 313,000 jobs throughout New York State alone. Schumer and Gillibrand cosponsored legislation to permanently reauthorize the LWCF before it expired last year, but Congress did not pass it and let the program expire. In this new Congress, Schumer and Gillibrand successfully fought to include the reauthorization in the just-passed Natural Resources Management Act.

“For over five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has provided millions in federal funds to parks, clean water efforts and historic places across New York, protecting and preserving their beauty for all New Yorkers and Americans,” said Schumer. “Congress made a grave mistake in allowing funding for the LWCF to lapse for even a day, which is why I fought so hard to permanently reauthorize it in the bipartisan 2019 Lands Package. I’ll keep pushing to ensure that this critical legislation is passed by Congress and signed into law, to ensure that New York’s natural and historic treasures—from Niagara Falls to the Adirondacks to Long Island’s beaches—can be enjoyed by generations of New Yorkers to come.”

“I am very pleased that the Senate has voted to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This program has played a key role in preserving New York’s natural and historic treasures, like the Adirondack Lakes, Gateway National Recreation Area, and the Saratoga Battlefield National Historical Park,” said Gillibrand. “It’s an absolute shame that Congress allowed the program to expire last year, which is why I fought to make the LWCF permanent and ensure that our nation’s resources can always be protected. I will always fight to protect the natural beauty and historic legacy of New York State, and I urge my colleagues on the House to move quickly and pass this bill.”

The LWCF has provided funding to protect sites of natural and historic importance throughout the country for over 50 years. The LWCF does not rely on taxpayer funds and instead uses revenue collected from offshore oil and gas development to purchase lands from willing sellers for the purposes of conservation. It also provides grants to states for recreation planning, acquisition of lands and waters, and facility development. Permanent reauthorization of the LWCF would provide consistent funding for projects overseen by LWCF to help preserve national parks and wilderness areas across the country.

—Submitted by Nassau County

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