The Land and Water Conservation Fund has to be reauthorized by September. Almost everyone seems to think it’s a swell idea, but the devil is in the details . . .
An important conservation program could expire in September unless Congress passes legislation to save it.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund was the subject of a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing last month. The hearing, which included Montana Sen. Steve Daines, comes as both the House and Senate consider passing legislation to permanently extend the fund.
The LWCF was created in 1965 and uses profits from offshore oil and gas developments to fund conservation and land acquisitions across the country. The primary goal of the fund is to protect land and ensure that it is accessible for recreation. It also offers funds to state and local governments to buy and protect land.
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The U.S. Forest Service is spending money on several land acquisition projects, including two in Montana . . .
The Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Forest Service will dedicate $40.6 million for land acquisition projects in 15 states including Montana in an effort to help safeguard clean water, recreational access and wildlife habitat and wilderness areas.
The money is made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, created by Congress in 1964 to provide funding to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands. The fund receives the majority of its money through royalty payments from offshore oil and gas revenues to mitigate the environmental impacts of those activities, the DOA said. Those funds also are augmented by additional money or in-kind services of a variety of partnerships.
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