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Mar 4, 2015

Tester: LWCF is a critical tool for outdoor access, economic development

Senator cosponsors bipartisan LWCF bill, questions Interior Secretary about full funding of LWCF

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(U.S. Senate) - As Congress begins the budget process for next year, Senator Jon Tester wants to make sure lawmakers understand the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and today he sponsored a bipartisan bill to permanently reauthorize it.

Tester, during an Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, questioned Secretary Sally Jewell about the future of LWCF and its economic impact in states like Montana. LWCF uses funds from offshore oil and gas receipts to support conservation easements, land acquisition, and state and local efforts that increase access to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.

Tester's bill would permanently reauthorize LWCF, which is set to expire at the end of the Fiscal Year.

Tester brought Secretary Jewell to Montana last March and showed her how local ranchers and conservationists used LWCF to protect over 600,000 acres in the Blackfoot River watershed.

"What we've got is what we've got, and if we destroy it, we'll no longer have special places on this earth," Tester told Jewell. "I appreciate the support you've plugged into LWCF. It's money that will be paid back multiple times over."

Tester also pointed out that LWCF is a critical tool for communities to attract new business and retain skilled workers. In Montana, counties with greater access to public lands have a higher per capita income than their neighbors.

The Senator last month spoke to a summit in Bozeman about the importance of keeping public lands public to the state's economy.

Tester is also the cosponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act, which includes his Making Public Lands Public Access Act that requires at least 1.5 percent or $10 million of LWCF funding to be used to improve access to existing federal land.

 

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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