Is there a zombie in Congress?

A new bill has been introduced in the house that strips the Land and Water Conservation Fund of its true power and turns it into a shadow of its formal self.
Katherine Hollis Katherine Hollis
November 12, 2015

As you probably already know, despite significant bipartisan support, Congress let the Land and Water Conservation Fund expire at the end of September. And, even with Fund’s many champions, a bill was recently introduced that would effectively gut the program.

You know how in horror movies, there’s a common trope where someone tries to bring a beloved person/animal back from the dead and seems similar at first blush, but turns out to be its opposite? The newly introduced discussion draft essentially would kill and reanimate the corpse of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

LWCF is a fifty-year-old program that reinvests a portion of the royalties from offshore oil and gas leasing in recreation and conservation priorities. The program has a tremendous track record of success and broad bipartisan support, but it expired at the end of September.

This new bill on LWCF, introduced by Rep. Bishop of Utah, effectively destroys the program, redirecting the funds to expand offshore gas and drilling, dramatically limiting how much of the funding can be used for public lands, and creating a maze of bureaucracy that denies local communities a voice in land management decisions. While some current concerns about LWCF, like the balance of funding for state programs, may have merit, this bill’s approach effectively removes all successful aspects of the program without any hope of gaining support in the House.

In contrast, in the Senate, Sens. Murkowski (R-AK) and Cantwell (D-WA) worked on a bipartisan agreement to renew the program that garnered strong support across the aisle. Rep. Bishop’s draft bill would turn LWCF into something with little resemblance to the program that has historically been a tremendous success story.

LWCF is a proven program with long history of success and broad, bipartisan support. Our concern with this discussion draft, appearing weeks after Congress let the program expire, is that criticisms of the program are driven by an anti-public lands agenda, not by legitimate concerns with the program.

Are you concerned that this public lands-eating zombie will gain traction? 

Reach out to your representatives today to ask them to reauthorize LWCF as-is.

We are proud to be partnering with the Outdoor Alliance on this issue.

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