WASHINGTON – In the Trump administration’s proposed 2021 fiscal year budget, which was released today, funding levels for the Land and Water Conservation Fund were set at $14.8 million. That amount falls well below the program’s full funding level of $900 million and is short of the $485 million Congress appropriated last year.
Steve Blackledge, senior director of Environment America’s Conservation Program, issued the following statement in response to proposed LWCF funding levels:
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is America’s best recreation and conservation program, and there’s a reason why it’s earned that distinction. It has funded city parks and hiking trails at the local level, iconic national parks and wildlife refuges at the national level, and everything in between.
“Funding for our public lands is wildly popular, and support for this program has remained overwhelmingly bipartisan. With that in mind, it’s both unfortunate and, frankly, puzzling to see the Trump administration thumb its nose at something everyone wants: Continued support for the primary funding source for parks, hiking trails and other public lands.
“Last year, Congress ignored the administration’s directive to zero out funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and, instead, appropriated $485 million for the program. That was a step forward, but it’s not enough. Our elected federal representatives need to approve the full $900 million per year that is statutorily intended.
“There are bipartisan bills in the Senate and House seeking to assure that the Land and Water Conservation Fund receives that money. So, perhaps, the silver lining to the president’s budget is that it reminds us, in a powerful way, that Congress must make the passage of these bills a priority.”Print