As LWCF Full Funding Clears Key Hurdle, Tester Calls on Senate Leadership to Act

Senator urges Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring funding for critical conservation tool to the floor of the Senate

Following committee passage of mandatory full funding for the critical Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the bipartisan legislation up for a vote on the Senate floor.

“Our LWCF mandatory full funding bill took a critical leap forward today and is now one step closer to the President’s desk,” Tester said. “But for it to get there, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will need to allow the full Senate to vote on it—if he did, it would pass overwhelmingly. In the weeks ahead I’ll continue my push to get this across the finish line, as well as continue working to address our deferred maintenance backlog, to preserve and protect the public lands that make our state the Last Best Place”

Earlier today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved legislation that would grant permanent funding to the LWCF—which has invested more than $540 million into Montana’s $7.1 billion outdoor economy—at its authorized limit of $900 million. However, Senate Leadership has made it clear that most legislation will not be voted on in the Senate.

Since its establishment in 1964, the LWCF has been a critical tool for states across the country, using offshore oil and gas development revenue to invest in conservation and recreation priorities. Tester led the charge in permanently reauthorizing the program earlier this year, but it has only been funded at its maximum amount twice since its inception.

The Trump Administration attempted to slash the LWCF budget by 98 percent this spring, and its funding was set at just $524 million by the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, which is less than less than two-thirds of the authorized $900 million.

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: