17 Jun Release: Senate votes to permanently fund vital conservation program following bipartisan deal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2020
Contact: Will Pregman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 702.752.0656
LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, the United States Senate voted to pass the Great American Outdoors Act to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually, in addition to over $1 billion to address the U.S. National Park maintenance backlog. President Donald Trump had suggested a 97% cut to the program in his initial budget proposal, but reversed course early in March by indicating on Twitter that he would sign a bill to fully and permanently fund the LWCF. The deal came after months of bipartisan efforts and grassroots support to increase funding for the LWCF.
Annette Magnus, Executive Director of the Institute for a Progressive Nevada, issued the following statement:
“I am thrilled to see that our parks, public lands, monuments, and outdoor recreation areas are one step closer to finally receiving the necessary conservation funding they deserve. In Nevada, where most of our land is federally owned, it is imperative that our outdoor spaces are maintained and protected to support our state’s natural history, beauty, and outdoor recreation economy. Especially now, when many Nevadans are rediscovering the outdoors as they practice social distancing, LWCF funds will help create outdoor recreation jobs and keep our outdoors pristine.
I’m thankful to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Senator Jacky Rosen for their tireless and consistent leadership that resulted in a historic bi-partisan agreement that ultimately will protect our land for generations to come. Their advocacy, alongside that of House Representatives Dina Titus, Susie Lee, and Steven Horsford, no doubt helped persuade President Trump to reverse course on the importance of conservation of our public lands. I look forward to his signature on a bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF and hope his administration follows through by abandoning efforts to carve up public lands for oil and gas companies to plunder.”
“The LWCF funds so many important projects across Nevada, from flood control to conservation of wildlife refuges and public recreation areas,” said U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “I’m proud to have fought for the passage of this monumental bill and I’ll continue to do all I can in the Senate to preserve Nevada’s precious outdoor spaces for future generations.”
Nevada Senator Melanie Scheible said, “Supporting the permanent authorization and full funding of LWCF is crucial for maintaining irreplaceable habitats and protecting our public spaces. The program allows local governments, like the State of Nevada, our counties, and cities to ensure that the parks, cultural sites, critical desert landscapes and mountain wilderness are protected for future generations to enjoy. As Chair of the Nevada Senate Natural Resources committee I am proud of our Senators voting for passage today.”
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones said, “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of Nevada’s most successful conservation programs, and provides vital funding to support our state’s unique landscapes – such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Craig Ranch Park, and Sunset Park. As County Commissioner and an avid outdoorsman, I am committed to protecting our unique landscapes for our Nevada families to enjoy for generations to come. I could not be more proud of our Nevada Senators for passing this essential piece of legislation, and I am honored to serve alongside them for our great state.”
Mauricia Baca, Executive Director of Get Outdoors Nevada, issued the following statement:
“We thank the U.S. Senate for voting [overwhelmingly] to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which would finally permanently and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address our national parks’ maintenance backlog. It’s great to see our elected leaders work together to protect the public lands Nevadans rely on for outdoor recreation. This is further proof that public lands and parks can bring us together and provide relief even in trying times. We’re incredibly grateful for Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Jacky Rosen’s leadership over the years in fighting for LWCF, and we know Nevada’s members in the House of Representatives will vote to bring these federal funds to Nevada.”
Meghan Wolf, Executive Committee Member with the Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition and Environmental Activism Manager for the Northwest with Patagonia, issued the following statement:
“The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is an important step in reviving Nevada’s $12.6 billion outdoor recreation industry that has helped diversify and strengthen our economy. Fully funding conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and fixing backlogs in our National Parks system will help outdoor recreation businesses throughout the state invest even more in our communities, bringing back jobs for thousands of Nevadans. We’re grateful for Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Rosen’s unwavering support during this crisis.
Now more than ever, Nevadans appreciate the value of outdoor spaces and what they can do for our mental, physical and, especially, economic health. It’s time to match that appreciation with an investment to protect our public lands and the jobs that depend on them. The House must now work diligently to pass this bipartisan, popular, common-sense legislation to fund LWCF and protect our parks.”
Levi Kamolnick, State Director of Environment Nevada, issued the following statement:
“Republicans and Democrats came together today to get us one step closer to finally realizing the vision of the LWCF framers, more than fifty years after its passage.
I’m thankful that our Nevada Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto have been such strong voices in this fight, both of whom signed on as original co-sponsors to S. 3422 the day it was released. Their efforts realized today, as well in 2019 with their support of permanent reauthorization, has made a world of difference for funding this critical conservation program.
The fact that we’ve seen this vote amidst such an incredibly turbulent time says something extraordinary about the need we have as Americans have for the places this legislation would protect. At a time when we are seeing droves of Americans flocking to places like Red Rock and Lake Mead seeking refuge from the isolation of self-quarantine, the need for this legislation and the protection and funding for public lands and parks is clear.”
About the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), established in 1964, provides funding to protect land in our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, national trails, and other public lands. Nevada has received approximately $104.8 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Toiyabe National Forest, Stillwater and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuges, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. LWCF funding has also supported Sunset Park, Craig Ranch Regional Park, Lorenzi Park, just to name a few.
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