Land and Water Conservation Fund, a key conservation bill, making progress
By Bethany Erb, PF/QF Governmental Affairs Representative
The House Natural Resources Committee held an unexpected mark-up last week for two PF/QF legislative priorities.
H.R. 6501, “Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act,” and H.R. 502, would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Both bills passed out of committee with a bipartisan vote.
H.R.6501, informally called the “backlog maintenance bill,” establishes new funds to address the maintenance backlog of the National Park Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Education. The fund is intended for infrastructure projects such as fixing roads and improving trails for access. Addressing backlog maintenance issues has been a priority for Chairman Bishop and Secretary Zinke.
LWCF, a program more familiar to many of us, originally created in 1964, provides funding for recreational access and opportunities on federal and state lands. This program has been critical over the last 50 years in creating outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting and fishing, throughout the country.
A Senate mark-up had not yet been scheduled for either bill.
We thank Chairman Bishop (Utah) and Ranking Member Grijalva (Arizona) for their bipartisan efforts to compromise on both bills and swiftly move them out of the House.
PF/QF thinks this progress is also good news for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act H.R. 46467 & S.3223, also known as RAWA (another conservation / wildlife funding source) as Congress is prioritizing much needed natural resource funding.
There is no action needed at this time on the legislation proposed above. But as these critical bills move through the legislative process we will keep you posted.