Oil Spill Bills Would Dedicate LWCF, Congress May Vote This Week
7/30/10 UPDATE: Victory in the House! This evening the House voted 209-193 to pass the CLEAR Act, with $900 million/yr in dedicated funding for LWCF intact! We're convinced that land trusts in key districts played a big part in making this victory possible. This is far from a done deal, however. Senate leaders still claim they will consider an oil spill bill before recess, but even if they manage to pass it, the earliest that differences could be reconciled and enacted is late September. Look for an ADVOCATES alert on Monday about how you can help secure Senate support.
Oil spill response legislation headed to the House and Senate floors this week may provide the best opportunity in years to secure dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund! But it’s by no means a done deal, so we need your help today.
Ask Your Senators and Rep. to Support Dedicated LWCF in Oil Spill Legislation
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is authorized to receive a small percentage of revenue from offshore leases for oil and gas--$900 million a year—but Congressional appropriators have consistently withheld much of that funding, shortchanging the program by some $17 billion over the past 46 years. The tragedy of the BP Oil Spill reminds us of the vulnerability of wildlife habitat from energy development, but response legislation provides an opportunity to finally ensure that LWCF is fully dedicated, without further appropriation.
House leaders just released a new version of H.R. 3534 that that would fully dedicate $900 million to the fund each year, and we expect the Senate to follow suit this afternoon. Crucial floor votes on these bills could come as soon as Thursday, so please call the Capitol Switchboard today at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative, then call back for each of your Senators:
- Ask to speak with the staffer who handles natural resource issues.
- Tell them about the organization you represent and any LWCF projects that have supported your work.
- Ask them to support including full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in legislation addressing the Gulf oil spill AND urge them to support final passage.
- Ask for the staffer’s email address so you can forward this fact sheet and any local examples.
The Alliance supports full funding for LWCF, but also supports allowing the fund to more directly fund conservation by land trusts. We believe the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative is our best opportunity to secure changes to LWCF that would allow greater flexibility, like that of the Great Outdoors Colorado program, founded when Secretary Salazar headed the Department of Natural Resources in that state. Read more>>.
Updates on Estate Tax Legislation and America’s Great Outdoors
Last Thursday’s alert left some loose ends, so here are some quick updates:
The bill number for the estate tax conservation incentive bill introduced by Senators Mark Udall (D-CO) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) is S. 3640. The other original co-sponsors were Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Click here for an updated fact sheet.
A new America’s Great Outdoors listening session has been announced, focused on New York’s Hudson River Valley. Here’s the latest list of upcoming sessions:
- Pennsylvania-Historic Preservation Focus: July 27 in Philadelphia (announcement, talking points & live webcast starting at 1pm)
- Utah: August 3 in Salt Lake City (talking points) &
- Minnesota: August 4 in Minneapolis (talking points) &
- New York: August 6 in Poughkeepsie (announcement & talking points)
- New Hampshire-Working Forests Focus: August 9 in Concord (announcement & talking points)
For a continuously updated list and ways to get your members and supporters involved online, please visit: www.lta.org/greatoutdoors#action.
Thanks for helping!
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