Senate passes Tester’s landmark provision to direct LWCF funds for outdoor access

Senator calls LWCF a smart investment in jobs, Montana’s future

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after voting to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, included language in the provision from his Making Public Lands Public Act, which requires 1.5 percent of LWCF funding be set aside each year to secure public access to existing public lands: 

“Access to public lands is a top priority for Montana’s hunters and anglers, and Montana’s economy.  The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a responsible, smart investment because it provides Montana’s sportsmen and women with access to good hunting and fishing opportunities.  My ‘Making Public Lands Public’ provision will ensure even more land is available for public access to ensure our future generations have even better access than we have today.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund improves access to prized hunting and fishing areas and also preserves ranchland through conservation easements.  Funding for this provision comes from offshore oil and gas receipts.  LWCF will be funded at $700 million for each of the next two years.

Land and Water Conservation Funding will support numerous Montana projects, including ranchland conservation along the Rocky Mountain Front and in the Blackfoot Valley, as well as prized hunting and fishing acquisitions such as the Tenderfoot Acquisition and the Montana Legacy Project.

Making Public Lands Public is supported by 43 sportsmen’s organizations, including the National Rifle Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Boone and Crockett Club and Safari Club International.

The Senate reauthorized LWCF by a vote of 76-22.  The measure was included in the highway bill, which the Senate is expected to pass.