December 12, 2019

RMEF to Congress: Reauthorize, Fund LWCF

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation calls on Congress to renew and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with full, dedicated, annual funding.

“For 52 years now, LWCF has provided critical funding for landscapes, wildlife and riparian habitat, wildlife refuges and national parks, and even community recreation facilities and neighborhood parks,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “These LWCF-funded projects provide long-lasting benefits for hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and all sorts of other recreational pursuits. Without congressional action, LWCF will expire on September 30 so the time to act is now!”

As of early September 2018, LWCF funding provided more than $108 million in funding that assisted 80 different RMEF land projects that permanently protected more than 152,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

“The Priority Recreational Access program is a key facet of the LWCF program,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.  “It helps maintain and expand access to our public lands.”

One example of the LWCF Priority Recreational Access program is the Middle Creek project in south-central Colorado. RMEF recently teamed up with the Bureau of Land Management and other partners to permanently protect and conserve a 28-acre property that improved access to 8,500 acres of adjacent public land.

LWCF helps conserve wild and undeveloped places, cultural heritage and benefits fish, wildlife and recreation. Its funding comes from royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf. The royalties bring in $900 million annually, most of which is diverted to other federal programs.

RMEF urges sportsmen, women and all other Americans who cherish conservation and our public lands to contact their elected representatives and urge them to renew and fully reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Share

Senate Passes Important Sportsmen and Conservation Legislation

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognized the U.S. Senate for approving a comprehensive energy package that includes permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as well as important provisions that benefit conservation, wildlife, sportsmen and women.

“We are grateful that Senators recognized LWCF is a vital conservation program that warranted permanent reauthorization,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Advancing part of the sportsmen package will also help hunters, anglers and shooters who use our federal lands. We are particularly pleased to see the bill also includes a change to the Equal Access to Justice Act, requiring reporting of decisions and awards of attorney fees. This statute has been abused by groups to stop land management projects while collecting attorney fees paid by taxpayers to sue the federal government.”

RMEF remains a longtime advocate for permanent reauthorization of LWCF which uses revenue from offshore oil and gas drilling to support the conservation of America’s lands and waters. It also provides funding to permanently protect and provide public access to important habitat for elk and other wildlife. To date, RMEF utilized more than $85 million in LWCF funding across 62 projects in ten different states in partnership with federal agencies to protect, conserve and open access to some of the nation’s most vital elk country. The 50 year-old program expired last September but was temporarily reauthorized by Congress in December.

The bill also includes several components of the bipartisan sportsmen legislative package passed by House of Representatives in February which directs federal agencies to enhance and increase public access for hunting, fishing and shooting on federal lands.

“While the Senate passed a number of provisions beneficial to sportsmen and women, it missed a tremendous opportunity regarding predator management. The sportsmen package passed by the House included language to restore state management of wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. There is simply no reason to prevent these states from managing these predators when they are fully recovered and flourishing.”

The Senate’s energy bill will now go to a conference committee where members will iron out differences between the versions passed by the House and Senate.

Share