Calling yourself a conservationist brings with it the responsibility to take action on behalf of our wild places and outdoor opportunities. That is why I am speaking up in support of a vital natural resource program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Permanently reauthorized by Congress earlier this year, the LWCF reinvests offshore oil and gas revenues in conservation, public access and recreational projects. Yet funding for the almost 55-year-old program is subject to the whims of the federal appropriations process.
New legislation would increase the effectiveness of the LWCF by securing its funding. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act (H.R. 3195), introduced by U.S. Reps. Jefferson Van Drew, D-New Jersey, and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pennsylvania, not only would advance conservation and access; it also would support Louisiana’s $1.67 billion outdoor economy and 23,345 outdoors-dependent jobs.
Louisianans have long benefited from the LWCF. The Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge, Comite River Acquisition, Forest Park Development and Donaldson Riverview Park all have received LWCF dollars. All are located in Louisiana’s 6th congressional district, represented by U.S. Rep. Garret Graves.
Graves can ensure future opportunities for Louisiana sportsmen and women by co-sponsoring H.R. 3195. His support now would be a step forward for conservation and public access — and would help guarantee the future of Louisiana’s time-honored outdoor traditions.