Statement from Secretary Jewell on the Expiration of the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued the following statement after Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire last night at midnight, which has put in jeopardy a critical tool that has been incredibly effective at funding more than 40,000 local conservation and recreation projects nationwide:

“After 50 years of resounding success in enriching America’s great outdoors, the Land and Water Conservation Fund needlessly faces an uncertain future. I am extremely disappointed that, despite overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress has allowed this innovative and effective program to expire. As a result, America's national parks are now at a higher risk of private development within their borders, we will have fewer tools to protect access to hunting and fishing spots, and local parks and open space projects in all 50 states may face delays or cancellation in the year ahead.

“I join mayors, governors, and Americans across the country in urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund in order to honor our nation’s outdoor heritage and provide resources to local communities who want to invest in conservation, historic preservation and recreation opportunities. Future generations deserve nothing less.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was established in 1965 to invest in our nation’s land, water and wildlife heritage. For 50 years, LWCF has helped support parks and historic sites; conserve forests, rivers, lakes and wildlife habitat; and provide access to recreation, hunting and fishing for current and future generations. LWCF is also one of the most important tools for honoring American history, preserving more than 21,000 acres of battlefields and cultural trails and sites.

The fund’s primary source of income is revenues paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people. Upon expiration, those revenues will no longer go to support this important conservation. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped fund more than 40,000 projects nationwide and played a vital role in boosting local economies in every state. For every $1 invested through the fund, there is an estimated return of $4 in economic activity.

Click here to see support from Mayors for Parks.

Click here to see support from the National Governors Association.

Earlier this week, Secretary Jewell also called on Congress to reauthorize another important tool for conservation, the Historic Preservation Fund.

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