WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, last week praised the introduction of legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) and House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and their bipartisan cosponsors.
“I am glad to see my colleagues in the House introducing companion legislation to my Senate bill to fully fund the LWCF. The LWCF is responsible for the conservation of some of our nation’s most treasured lands like the Monongahela National Forest and Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “If Congress is serious about opening access and preserving our public lands, we need to act and pass this legislation. As ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to ensure we do just that.”
Manchin has been a long-time advocate of the LWCF and championed the permanent reauthorization of it the February as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. Despite permanent reauthorization, expenditures from the LWCF require federal appropriations each year. For the first time, Senator Manchin’s Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act would provide the full $900 million in the fund each year and remove the need for annual appropriations.
The LWCF provides funding for additions to national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other federal public lands used for outdoor recreation and habitat preservation. The LWCF also funds important projects that protect drinking water resources, sensitive habitat for fish and wildlife, and private forestland. The LWCF provides matching grants to states and localities for investments in outdoor recreation facilities, such as parks and ballfields, and helps protect threatened battlefield sites. Since LWCF was established in 1965, the fund has provided more than $243 million to West Virginia and allowed for more than 500 state and federal projects to be completed.