Enough giveaways to big oil!
10/23/15—Friends: Funding for our parks and public lands just took a major hit thanks to a few members of Congress who are blocking a vote to reauthorize a successful conservation program. For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has protected millions of acres of public lands – from the Appalachian Trail to the Grand Canyon to Redwood forests on California’s North Coast. For decades LWCF has enjoyed strong bipartisan support because of its success and because it costs taxpayers nothing – it is fully funded by offshore drilling fees. But not anymore.
For the first time since John F. Kennedy created LWCF, the program has lapsed and oil companies are no longer paying into it. Why? Because a few members of the House – ideologues who value oil companies much more than our public lands – blocked a bipartisan LWCF bill from even coming up for a vote. I fought long and hard to avoid this outcome, and I’m still fighting – speaking out on the House floor and in the Natural Resources Committee to bring LWCF legislation to a vote. Congress already gives big oil billions in annual subsidies which they don’t need. We can’t let a few wrongheaded members of Congress give big oil a free pass on the modest LWCF fees that are so critical to protecting our environment and public places for future generations.
Just last month, I was excited to announce over $387,000 in LWCF funding to add to the Coastal Prairie Trail in Bodega Bay. Every year, all across the country, millions of Americans enjoy LWCF-funded state and local trails like this one, but now that the program has expired we won’t have the funding to fill gaps in our trail systems, protect wildlife habitat, or rehabilitate historical sites.
We can still save this vital program. I have been calling for an up-or-down vote on a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the LWCF with full funding. I’ve led that fight in the Natural Resources Committee, including a recent spirited debate with the Republican Chairman who is chiefly responsible for blocking LWCF reauthorization (you can see highlights from that exchange here).
We’ve got the moral and political high ground, but the other side has big oil money behind them. That’s why I need your help now.
Let’s make a grassroots statement that every member of Congress and every oil company executive can hear. Add your name to send a message of disapproval to everyone who is blocking a vote on full and dedicated funding for this vital land and water conservation program.
This is our land and water – tell Congress to protect it for future generations.