Tester: The clock on America’s greatest conservation tool is ticking

Without Congressional action, LWCF will expire in 90 days

(Big Sandy, Mont.) – With 90 days to go, Senator Jon Tester is calling on Congress to support one of the greatest tools Americans have to protect treasured outdoor areas.

The 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund (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. The Fund expires on September 30, 2015 if Congress does not reauthorize it.

“Without LWCF, some of America’s greatest outdoor places will be developed and then they’ll be lost forever,” Tester said. “Congress must reauthorize LWCF so that our kids and grandkids can access these places for generations to come.”

While some in Congress have called for changing the role of LWCF, Tester believes significant changes to the initiative would undermine the program’s effectiveness and have harmful impacts on public access to public land.

Tester is sponsoring a bill to permanently fully fund LWCF. He recently introduced an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill that would provide $400 million for LWCF, but that amendment failed on a party line vote.

Through his position on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, Tester helped secure LWCF funding for the 8,200 acre Tenderfoot Acquisition in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Conservation groups, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, will host a Tenderfoot Acquisition celebration at the Montana State Capitol in on July 9.

An LWCF countdown clock is available online HERE. You can download an LWCF graphic to share on social media HERE.