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Jun 25, 2019

Tester Pushes Full, Permanent Funding for Land & Water Conservation Fund

(U.S. Senate) - The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held a hearing today on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), featuring experts from the U.S. Forest Service, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Department of the Interior testifying about the importance of this critical conservation initiative.

"LWCF is the best conservation tool we have," Tester said after the hearing. "But the fight to fund the program every year puts our public lands-and the people and businesses that rely on them-in jeopardy. A lot of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle touted their support for permanent reauthorization back in February, so it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is and fully fund this critical conservation initiative. If they don't, then many of the public lands we love won't be around for our kids and grandkids to enjoy."

In February, the Senate passed a historic public lands package that included two of Tester's landmark pieces of legislation: The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act and a bill to permanently reauthorize LWCF. But Tester made it clear that permanent reauthorization was just the first step, reintroducing his bill to fully fund LWCF permanently.

LWCF is currently authorized to receive up to $900 million annually. But since it was established in 1965, Congress has only fully funded the program twice. That's why Tester first introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF back in 2009 and has reintroduced it every Congress since:

Tester recently grilled Interior Secretary David Bernhardt about the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for LWCF, making it the second year in a row that the President has attempted to cut funding for LWCF by more than $400 million. Tester fought back, securing $425 million for LWCF in the 2018 budget bill. He was the only member of Montana's delegation to vote for this funding. Tester then secured an additional $10 million in LWCF funding in the February appropriations package, bringing the total to $435 million for 2019.

"Funding for LWCF is more important than ever before," Tester told Bernhardt during last month's hearing. "These ecosystems are going away. It is beyond unacceptable for you to eliminate funding for this successful initiative."

Funded through offshore oil and gas development revenue, LWCF has invested more than $540 million to support Montana's outdoor recreation economy since it was established in 1965. Tester is the only member of Montana's Congressional delegation who has consistently fought to reauthorize and fully fund the popular initiative that Montanans use to increase public access to public lands.

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

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
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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