news releases

16 May 2019

HAF Applauds House for Funding LWCF in FY 2020, Urges Senate to Approve Proposed Budget

Category: News Releases

On Tuesday, May 14, the House Appropriations Committee released the draft fiscal year 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies funding bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other related agencies. The draft bill provides $523.9 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), including $244 million for the federal program and $280 million for state programs.

The total is $85 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $491 million above the President’s budget request. Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, released the following statement in response:

“More than 50 years ago, Congress created LWCF as a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Since then, LWCF has funded tens of thousands of parks and projects throughout the country. Whether it’s developing a community pool, creating green space in the desert or strengthening our national parks, LWCF is one of the most critical tools for creating access to the outdoors, especially for diverse and urban communities, and protecting the places we love.

“We applaud the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee for recognizing the vital importance LWCF plays in protecting public lands and ensuring that all communities benefit from this important program. The draft budget reverses the Administration’s proposal to cut federal funding for LWCF by more than 100 percent, which not only zeroed out the program but also rolled back funds previously appropriated by Congress last year. It is now the Senate’s turn to fulfill the bipartisan promise that LWCF represents and approve the proposed funding for one of America’s most effective conservation programs.

“This appropriations bill represents a sizeable and positive step for conservation. Without adequate funding for LWCF, current and future protected lands and water sources would be left without the financial resources to remain protected. For local economies benefiting from a consistent influx of visitors, and local Latino workers and students, this would put their tourism and recreation industries’ stability at risk by opening parks, wildlife refuges, and forests for commercial development. Therefore, we will continue to highlight the need for permanent full dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

For over half a century, LWCF has successfully safeguarded countless acres of natural resources, enhanced access to public lands, preserved our historical legacy, and supported local economies by boosting tourism. To this day, LWCF has helped protect more than 100 national battlefields in 42 states, supported over 42,000 parks and recreation projects across the country, in addition to helping protect more than 2.2 million acres of national parks.

Hispanic Access explores the relationship Latino and diverse communities have with LWCF in the film Land, Water y Comunidad and through a whitepaper of the same name that profiles ten LWCF locations around the country and why the fund’s support matters.

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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