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Gianforte Supports Permanent Reauthorization of Land Water Conservation Fund

June 22, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte today signed onto a bill to permanently reauthorize the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is set to expire in less than 100 days unless Congress reauthorizes it.

“Susan and I raised our children hunting, fishing, and backpacking on our public lands, which are central to our Montana way of life,” Gianforte said. “I signed onto this bill, because I know how important the LWCF is to Montana and support its permanent reauthorization. I will continue being a strong voice for the LWCF as it helps preserve and expand access for Montanans on our public lands.”

The LWCF does not use taxpayer funds. Instead, it directs earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to protect water resources, conserve natural areas, and provide recreation opportunities.

Between 2005 and 2014, Montana received $240.3 million in investments from LWCF funds. LWCF funds contributed to the purchase of more than 800 recreational sites across Montana, including city parks, trails, and ballfields.

The bill to provide permanent reauthorization of LWCF, H.R. 502, enjoys support from a bipartisan group of more than 225 cosponsors.

Background:

On March 16, 2018, Gianforte joined a bipartisan group of 204 members of Congress on a letter (HERE) to the chairman and ranking member of an appropriations subcommittee, urging them to ensure “LWCF programs receive strong and consistent support in FY 2019 in order to maintain our commitment to conservation and recreation.”

On March 9, 2018, Gianforte and 27 members of Congress sent a letter (HERE) to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, asking him to have a vote on LWCF reauthorization.

On November 10, 2017, Gianforte voted for permanent reauthorization of LWCF in the House Natural Resources Committee.

On October 5, 2017, Gianforte spoke in support of permanent reauthorization of LWCF at a press conference with a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen as well as the Nature Conservancy, the Wilderness Society, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, and other groups.

On September 13, 2017, Gianforte voted for permanent reauthorization of LWCF in the House Natural Resources Committee.

Statements of support:

Mark Aagenes, director of external affairs at the Nature Conservancy in Montana: “From protecting our ranchlands, to better access for recreation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is all about growing our local economies and Congressman Gianforte gets that. His support of this critical, bipartisan piece of legislation to permanently reauthorize LWCF is important, now more than ever, as the program is set to expire in less than 100 days. Congressman Gianforte’s leadership will be critical to protecting this hallmark program.”

Dick Dolan, Northern Rockies director with the Trust for Public Land: “We are grateful to Congressman Gianforte for his continuing commitment to America’s most important conservation program. Montana and the rest of the nation depend on LWCF for public recreation access, for the streams we fish and the trails we hike, for the places that make us who we are. By signing onto this legislation, Congressman Gianforte has given a significant boost to the effort to secure this vital program into the future. We look forward to working with him, with Montana’s senators, and with other champions to achieve a permanently reauthorized, fully funded LWCF.”

Nancy Holland, president and chief executive officer of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: “The Land and Water Conservation Fund is one of the most important tools for conserving wildlife habitat and access to public lands for hunting and other recreation. Unfortunately, authorization for the program expires at the end of September. LWCF funds were critical to the success of RMEF’s Tenderfoot Creek project in the Lewis and Clark National Forest that opened public access to over 8,000 acres of premier elk habitat and a recent project in the Missouri River Breaks where RMEF used LWCF funding to convey 93 acres to the Bureau of Land Management that improved public access to more than 6,000 acres of adjacent public land. We appreciate Congressman Gianforte’s support for this important bipartisan legislation that permanently reauthorize this critical program.”

Glenn Marx, executive director of the Montana Association of Land Trusts: “It’s great to see Congressman Gianforte officially endorse permanent authorization of the LWCF and great to see the Montana Congressional Delegation united in permanently authorizing this conservation program that’s so critically important to Montana. We’ve all got lots of work left to get permanent reauthorization and dedicated LWCF funding in place, and with the Congressman’s continued help we can get there.”

Gates Watson, vice president and Montana and Northwest director of the Conservation Fund: “Working ranches, diverse wildlife and one-of-a-kind recreational experiences define Montana’s outdoor heritage, communities, economy and way of life. We’re grateful to Representative Gianforte for his leadership on cosponsoring legislation to permanently reauthorize LWCF, ensuring its essential role in providing recreational access to public lands and supporting private lands conservation.”

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