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Oct 31, 2019

Tester Slams Attempt to Gut Land and Water Conservation Fund

Lee amendment would “cripple” popular LWCF

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today slammed a proposed amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that would prevent the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) from acquiring land, stripping the program of one of its key functions.

Recent LWCF land acquisitions in Montana include 8,200 acres of prime elk habitat in Tenderfoot Creek, 6,400 acres in the Stillwater State Forest, and 422 acres on the Falls Creek Property along the Rocky Mountain Front, in addition to parks, soccer fields, and fishing sites across the state.

"This dangerous amendment would cripple LWCF, and Montana's $7 billion outdoor recreation industry would be worse off for it," Tester said. "I'm going to be focusing on building up this critical program and fighting for the full $900 million in funding it deserves, instead of gutting it from the inside out."

Established in 1964, the LWCF is a critical conservation tool that uses revenues from oil and gas leasing to fund conservation and recreation priorities across the nation. Congress permanently reauthorized the program this year, but it has yet to be funded at an acceptable level. President Trump proposed cutting the LWCF budget by 98 percent this spring, and the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee set its funding at just $524 million - less than two-thirds of the authorized $900 million.

Since its creation, the LWCF has invested more than $540 million into Montana's $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy. Tester successfully fought to secure $425 million in funding for the LWCF in the March 2018 budget bill after the Trump Administration pushed to gut the program, and he was the only member of Montana's delegation to vote for that funding. He then secured an additional $10 million in LWCF funding in the February appropriations package, bringing the total to $435 million for 2019.

Tester originally introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act in 2009 to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the critical conservation initiative and has reintroduced it every Congress since:

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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