[Philadelphia, PA] – Last night, the U.S. Senate passed a Continuing Resolution that funds the federal government into February 2019, but fails to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a successful bipartisan conservation and recreation program that has funded projects in all 50 states since it began in 1965. The program, which expired in September 2018 and now remains dormant, supported everything from the expansion and maintenance of local parks and recreation centers, to national forests, national parks and historical sites. In Pennsylvania, this includes conservation and recreation funding over the years in every one of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties, and includes iconic public lands like Valley Forge, Gettysburg, the Flight 93 Memorial, and the Delaware Water Gap.
”Despite many champions on both sides of the aisle, the lame-duck Congress dropped the ball and didn’t permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said David Masur, Executive Director for the statewide environmental group PennEnvironment. “But given that all Pennsylvanians and Americans get to enjoy the parks and lands that LWCF protects, we remain hopeful that the next Congress will get the job done, and soon.”
Since LWCF funding expired, public lands projects have missed out on more than $200 million in revenue, and continue to lose roughly $2.5 million a day.
Since LWCF’s looming expiration this past summer, PennEnvironment has worked to educate and engage the public, and build support within Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation for the program. This includes strategically placed billboards urging Congress to reauthorize LWCF, garnering ongoing statewide news coverage about the program’s success and expiration, and mobilizing thousands of Pennsylvanians in support of renewing the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Pennsylvanians from all walks of life love our public lands, from small city parks to big, iconic national parks,” said Masur. “The next Congress needs to pick up the conservation mantle and move to permanently reauthorize and fully fund this vital program.”
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PennEnvironment is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and protecting Pennsylvania’s great natural heritage. For more information about PennEnvironment’s work, please visit www.PennEnvironment.org.
For a list of projects funded by LWCF, go to https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/.