Tester ‘thrilled’ by President’s Call to Fully Fund Land and Water Conservation Fund After Proposing to Cut It by 97 Percent
President Trump’s FY 2021 budget proposal slashed LWCF by 97 percent to just $14.7 million
U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after President Trump finally called to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF):
“After years of trying to gut LWCF, I’m thrilled that President Trump reversed course and now wants to sign my bipartisan permanent full funding bill into law,” said Tester. “I’m hopeful Mitch McConnell will drop his opposition to LWCF and let us protect our public lands and Montana’s $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy by fully funding this vital conservation tool.”
President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget cuts 97 percent of funds for the LWCF to just $14.7 million, down from $495 million in Fiscal Year 2020 and far below the fully authorized level of $900 million.
Tester originally introduced the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act in 2009 to permanently reauthorize and fully fund this critical conservation initiative and has reintroduced it every Congress since. 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 $495 million in funding for the LWCF in last year’s 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.
Established in 1964, the LWCF uses revenues from oil and gas leasing to fund conservation and recreation priorities across the nation. Congress permanently reauthorized the program last year, but it has yet to be funded at an acceptable level.
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.