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Polis leads bipartisan call for permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund
Rep. Jared Polis - alongside Rep. Scott Tipton, Rep. Diana DeGette, and Rep. Ed Perlmutter - is calling for permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF, which operates using offshore drilling fees at zero added expense to taxpayers, is set to expire on Sept. 30.
For more than 50 years, the LWCF has been used to protect and preserve ecosystems while also ensuring access for hunters, fishermen, hikers, bikers, and skiers nationwide.
Colorado has received $268 million from LWCF in the past, including over $200 million for national parks, national forests, and habitat conservation.
In a letter, Polis, Tipton, Perlmutter, and DeGette implored Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi to permanently reauthorize the LWCF and provide it with dedicated funding ahead of its expiration at the end of this fiscal year.
The letter reads, in part, “Colorado’s public lands are foundational to our state’s character and our economy, and the LWCF ensures the health and future of those public lands. The fund invests in conservation, history, recreation, working landscapes, and forests, creating jobs and local economic opportunities at no expense to the taxpayer.”
Read the entire letter here.
“So many treasured areas in Colorado rely on the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Over the years, it has helped protect everywhere from Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.” said Polis. “I’m pleased to collaborate with Republican and Democratic legislators from Colorado to make the fund permanent. For the sake of the Colorado economy and environment, we must protect the fund and ensure that Congress can’t rob it for special interest pet projects.”
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of America’s most important and successful conservation programs, and for the past fifty-three years, it has helped expand and protect Colorado’s irreplaceable land and historic treasures, at no cost to the taxpayer,” said Tipton. “For that reason, I have been an staunch supporter of this critical program in the past, and am eager to work with my colleagues on both side of the aisle to ensure that LWCF is permanently reauthorized and receives strong support next fiscal year, so generations to come can continue to experience the wonders of America’s national parks, wildlife refuges, forests and battlefields.”
LWCF has provided funding in Arapaho NF/Arapaho NRA, Arkansas River SRMA, Baca Ranch/NWR, Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Blanca Wildlife Habitat Area, Canyons of the Ancients NM, Colorado Canyons NCA, Colorado NWRs and NFs, Colorado NM, CO River/Ruby Canyon NCA, Comanche Nat Grassland, Cross Mountain NCA, Cross Mountain Ranch Hunting and Fishing Access, Dominguez-Escalante NCA, Garden Park Fossil Area, Golden Bair Ranch, Grand Mesa Slopes SMA, Great Sand Dunes NP, Gunnison Basin ACEC, Gunnison Gorge NCA, Gunnison NF, Lake Fork of Gunnison SMA, McIntire Spring/Conejos River, Mesa Verde NP, Perins Peak WHA, Powderhorn WSA, Rio Grande NF, Rocky Mountain NP, Roosevelt NF, Ruby Mountain, Sand Creek Massacre NHS, San Miguel River, Sangre de Cristo CA, Two Ponds NWR, Unaweep/Tabeguache NSB, Uncompahgre/San Juan NF, Upper Huerfano River EMA, Upper Colorado River SRMA, and White River NF.
The Wilderness Society praised Polis, Tipton, Perlmutter, and DeGette, saying:
"With only a month remaining before the fund expires, these members of the Colorado congressional delegation are right in their call to save America's most successful conservation and recreation program. We’re lucky in Colorado to have such a strong showing of bipartisan support from these members, as well as our Senators, for permanently authorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director, The Wilderness Society.
Polis is a champion for public land and the environment in Congress. He has advocated for permanent funding for the LWCF for years, most recently sponsoring H.R. 502 to make the fund permanent. In addition, he introduced the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Act, alongside Sen. Bennet, to preserve and protect over 90,000 acres of public lands. He currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) and has authored a detailed environmental tax policy plan that levels the playing field between fossil fuels and renewable energy. He has also introduced legislation to close oil and gas loopholes in the Clean Air Act, and has testified before the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission.