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  • Category Archives LWCF “slush fund”
  • Obama Plus the LWFC Land Grabs

    OBAMA’S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LAND GRABS PLUS THE LWFC?

    Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a Federal program

    AS OF OCTOBER 2015, DESCRIBING IT (LWCF) AS A “SLUSH FUND”, ROB BISHOP (R) OF UTAH, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE, HAD BLOCKED A VOTE ON REAUTHORIZATION.

    The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been America’s most important conservation “SLUSH FUNDING” tool for nearly 50 years. Since 1964, the fund has …

    For nearly 50 years taxpayers income has been diverted to fund the (LWCF)?

    Who knew?

    THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF INCOME TO THE FUND IS FEES PAID TO THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT BY COMPANIES DRILLING OFFSHORE FOR OIL AND GAS.

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    THE GOOD NEWS WAS…

    Oct 1, 2015

    Congress lets sun set on Land and Water Conservation Fund

    www.hcn.org/…/congresslets-sun-set-on-land-and-w
    High Country News

    Oct 1, 2015Congress lets sun set on Land and Water Conservation Fund … The sunsetting of the LWCF was greeted with dismay by conservationists and …

    CONSERVATIVE Sen. Daines (R)  told the breakfast meeting that reauthorization has “a higher probability if we attach it to another piece of legislation,”

    so they’ll be looking for some piece of must-pass legislation before the end of the year, like the omnibus spending bill or a HIGHWAY and transportation bill.

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     CONSERVATIVE Sen. Daines (R) has also lent his vote to bailout the HIGHWAY Trust Fund, despite ample evidence the Fund is only “bankrupt”

    Hmmm…  Sen. Daines (R) said….
    because of Congress’ appetite for spending on projects completely unrelated to HIGHWAY
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    Oct 1, 2015 ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE,
    CONSERVATIVE?   CONSERVATIONIST?  Sen. Daines (R) SAID…
    ATTACH THE LWCF RE AUTHORIZATION TO A  MUST-PASS LEGISLATION BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR….  The like the omnibus spending bill or a HIGHWAY and transportation bill.
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    THE BAD NEWS IS..
    UPDATED Dec 16, 2015….Thanks to Sen. Daines (R)
    The NEW spending bill also gives the LWCF fund $450 million for the coming fiscal year, a near 50 percent increase over the previous level.
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    CONSERVATIONIST? Rep. Grijalva (D) and CONSERVATIVE Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R) co-sponsored a LWCF permanent reauthorization bill

    Rep. Grijalva (D)  said…We should make it permanent, avoid prolonged budget battles and get back to the business of protecting our natural spaces.

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    Find Your Park – Centennial (U.S. National Park Service)

    www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/findyourpark.htm
    National Park Service

    Go to FindYourPark.com to share your heritage. Find Your Park logo … Find Your Park is about more than just national parks! It’s about the National Park Service …

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    THIS IS ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE…

    Land and Water Conservation Fund – National Park Service

    www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/funding.html
    National Park Service

    Oct 26, 2015 – find LWCF in your neighborhood … Current Funding for GrantsSally Jewell signed the 2015 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) …

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    Some CONSERVATIVES, complain that THE LWCF  FUNDING allows the federal government to expand its reach by buying up private land and that it helps fund environmental groups that sell land to federal officials.
    INDEED… TO NAME JUST FIVE…
    National Parks Conservation Association, Environment America, The Wilderness Society, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Nature Conservancy.
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    Sen. Daines (R) has been a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee as well as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He has also been a member of both the Commerce and Indian Affairs committees.   – See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/members/steve-daines/#sthash.WxWSWNP3.dpuf

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    HOW THING WORK ON THE HILL

    With Bipartisan Support

    Americans’ current 11% job approval rating of Congress is its worst rating so far this year

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    UPDATED Dec 16, 2015

    Conservation fund gets 3-year lifeline in spending bill | TheHill

    thehill.com/…/263424-conservation-fund-gets-3-year-lifeline-in-…
    The Hill

    Dec 16, 2015The reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund … is a sign of the ineffectiveness of this Congress and deep dysfunction in …

    The NEW spending bill also gives the LWCF fund $450 million for the coming fiscal year, a near 50 percent increase over the previous level.

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    WE ALL KNOW HOW OBAMA’S PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LAND GRABS WORK

    REFLECTED IN THE ANTI-PUBLIC-LAND AND ANTI-FEDERAL SENTIMENTS AFOOT IN SOME QUARTERS OF THE WEST.

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    (THE CENTER FOR WESTERN PRIORITIES CREATED AN INTERACTIVE MAP SHOWING

    HOW LWCF HAS MADE NATIONAL PARKS WHOLE

    BY PAYING TO BUY INHOLDINGS FROM PRIVATE LANDOWNERS.)

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    NATIONAL PARK SERVICE INHOLDER WILLING SELLERS (LWFC) PROGRAM.

    Using diverted taxpayers income to pay for INHOLDERS private property.

    Congress regularly diverts…..

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    WHICH HAS CONSERVED MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION ACRES SO FAR. LWCF PURCHASES WILDLIFE HABITAT, BUYS PRIVATE INHOLDINGS WITHIN WILDERNESSES AND NATIONAL PARKS, PRESERVES

    But action on LWCF was derailed by far-right opposition, led by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, House Natural Resources chairman.

    The United States’ Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a Federal program that was established by Act of Congress in 1965 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments FOR THE ACQUISITION OF LAND AND WATER, AND EASEMENTS ON LAND AND WATER,

    for the benefit of all Americans
    THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF INCOME TO THE FUND IS FEES PAID TO THE BUREAU OF OCEAN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT BY COMPANIES DRILLING OFFSHORE FOR OIL AND GAS.

    Congress regularly diverts most of the funds from this source to other purposes, however. ADDITIONAL MINOR SOURCES OF INCOME INCLUDE THE SALE OF SURPLUS FEDERAL REAL ESTATE AND TAXES ON MOTORBOAT FUEL.

    The program is divided into two distinct funding pools: state grants AND FEDERAL ACQUISITION FUNDS.
    (THE CENTER FOR WESTERN PRIORITIES CREATED AN INTERACTIVE MAP SHOWING HOW LWCF HAS MADE NATIONAL PARKS WHOLE BY PAYING TO BUY INHOLDINGS FROM PRIVATE LANDOWNERS.)

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    Mapping the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF …

    wilderness.org/mapping-land-and-waterconserva
    The Wilderness Society

    The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been America’s most important conservation funding tool for nearly 50 years. Since 1964, the fund has …
    WHICH HAS CONSERVED MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION ACRES SO FAR. LWCF PURCHASES WILDLIFE HABITAT, BUYS PRIVATE INHOLDINGS WITHIN WILDERNESSES AND NATIONAL PARKS, PRESERVES
    FUNDS FROM THE LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND HAVE BEEN UTILIZED OVER THE YEARS ON PROJECTS BOTH LARGE AND SMALL. LWCF HAS HELPED STATE AGENCIES AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES

    ACQUIRE NEARLY SEVEN MILLION ACRES (28,000 KM²) OF LAND AND EASEMENTS

    CONTROLLING FURTHER LAND

    Though LWCF is authorized with A BUDGET CAP OF $900 MILLION ANNUALLY
    THE PRESIDENT MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONGRESS REGARDING FUNDING FOR SPECIFIC LWCF PROJECTS.
    But action on LWCF was derailed by far-right opposition, led by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, House Natural Resources chairman,

    REFLECTING THE ANTI-PUBLIC-LAND AND ANTI-FEDERAL SENTIMENTS AFOOT IN SOME QUARTERS OF THE WEST.

    AS OF OCTOBER 2015, DESCRIBING IT AS A “SLUSH FUND”, ROB BISHOP OF UTAH, CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE, HAD BLOCKED A VOTE ON REAUTHORIZATION.
    CONGRESS FAILED TO TAKE ACTION TO REAUTHORIZE IT.

    THAT MEANS THAT OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS PRODUCERS WILL NO LONGER BE PAYING INTO THE CHEST THAT FUNDS THE PROGRAM —
    CONGRESS. INSTEAD, LAWMAKERS WILL BE DICKERING OVER HOW TO DIVVY UP FORMER LWCF APPROPRIATIONS, WHICH WILL NOW BE GOING INTO THE GENERAL TREASURY.

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    Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant – National Park …

    www.nps.gov/lwcf/
    National Park Service

    Nov 3, 2015 – The LWCF Program provides matching grants to States and local … protection and maintenance of recreation resources across the United States. … of $42.8 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to all 50 States, …

    The United States’ Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a Federal program that was established by Act of Congress in 1965 to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments for the acquisition of land and water, and easements on land and water, for the benefit of all Americans.[1]

    The main emphases of the fund are recreation and the protection of national natural treasures in the forms of parks and protected forest and wildlife areas.

    The LWCF has a broad-based coalition of support and oversight, including the National Parks Conservation Association, Environment America, The Wilderness Society, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Nature Conservancy.
    The primary source of income to the fund is fees paid to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement by companies drilling offshore for oil and gas. Congress regularly diverts most of the funds from this source to other purposes, however. Additional minor sources of income include the sale of surplus federal real estate and taxes on motorboat fuel.

    Funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund have been utilized over the years on projects both large and small. LWCF has helped state agencies and local communities acquire nearly seven million acres (28,000 km²) of land and easements controlling further land, developed project sites including such popular recreational areas as Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia, California’s Big Sur Coast, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana, helped maintain Yellowstone National Park, and helped to build and maintain “thousands of local playgrounds, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds.”
    Though LWCF is authorized with a budget cap of $900 million annually, this cap has been met only twice during the program’s nearly four decades of existence.[citation needed] As of 2015 the program generated about $2.5 million a day from leases on offshore oil and gas drilling.
    The program is divided into two distinct funding pools: state grants and federal acquisition funds. The distribution formula takes into account population density and other factors.
    On the federal side, each year, based on project demands from communities as well as input from the federal land management agencies,

    THE PRESIDENT MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONGRESS REGARDING FUNDING FOR SPECIFIC LWCF PROJECTS.

    In Congress, these projects go through an Appropriations Committee review process. Given the intense competition among projects, funding is generally only provided for those projects with universal support.

    Initially authorized for a twenty-five-year period, the LWCF has been extended for another twenty-five years, its current mandate running until January 2015.

    As of October 2015, describing it as a “slush fund”, Rob Bishop (R)  of Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, had blocked a vote on reauthorization.

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    Congress lets sun set on Land and Water Conservation Fund

    www.hcn.org/…/congresslets-sun-set-on-land-and-w
    High Country News

    Oct 1, 2015 – Congress lets sun set on Land and Water Conservation Fund … The sunsetting of the LWCF was greeted with dismay by conservationists and …
    Oct 1, 2015 – But action on LWCF was derailed by far-right opposition, led by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, House Natural Resources chairman, reflecting the …In July, Montanans celebrated the addition of 8,200 acres, known as Tenderfoot Creek, to the Lewis and Clark National Forest.

    MOST OF THE $10.7 MILLION COST WAS PAID FOR BY THE FEDERAL LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND, WHICH USES OIL AND GAS ROYALTIES FOR CONSERVATION AND RECREATION PROJECTS.
    But action on LWCF was derailed by far-right opposition, led by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, House Natural Resources chairman,

    REFLECTING THE ANTI-PUBLIC-LAND AND ANTI-FEDERAL SENTIMENTS AFOOT IN SOME QUARTERS OF THE WEST.
    Bishop is floating his own reforms to the program, which include redirecting most of the money to state and local projects

    (IN THE 1970S, CONGRESS REMOVED A REQUIREMENT THAT STATES GET 60 PERCENT OF LWCF FUNDING).
    (THE CENTER FOR WESTERN PRIORITIES CREATED AN INTERACTIVE MAP SHOWING HOW LWCF HAS MADE NATIONAL PARKS WHOLE BY PAYING TO BUY INHOLDINGS FROM PRIVATE LANDOWNERS.)

    Congress lets sun set on Land and Water Conservation Fund
    The nation’s most successful conservation program is in jeopardy.

    Jodi Peterson Oct. 1, 2015 Web Exclusive

    In July, Montanans celebrated the addition of 8,200 acres, known as Tenderfoot Creek, to the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Most of the $10.7 million cost was paid for by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses oil and gas royalties for conservation and recreation projects.
    But yesterday, the 50-year-old fund, widely viewed as one of the nation’s most popular and most successful land conservation programs, was allowed to expire completely. Despite broad bipartisan support, and despite a deadline that was no surprise to anyone, Congress failed to take action to reauthorize it.

    That means that offshore oil and gas producers will no longer be paying into the chest that funds the program —

    and now that the funding connection has been broken, reinstating it will be very difficult, especially given the tone of this CONGRESS. INSTEAD, LAWMAKERS WILL BE DICKERING OVER HOW TO DIVVY UP FORMER LWCF APPROPRIATIONS, WHICH WILL NOW BE GOING INTO THE GENERAL TREASURY.

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    Earlier this summer, dozens of representatives on both sides of the aisle had signed a letter in support of the perpetually underfunded program, WHICH HAS CONSERVED MORE THAN SEVEN MILLION ACRES SO FAR.

    LWCF PURCHASES WILDLIFE HABITAT, BUYS PRIVATE INHOLDINGS WITHIN WILDERNESSES AND NATIONAL PARKS,

    PRESERVES cultural heritage sites, provides public access for fishing and hunting, and pays for urban parks, playgrounds and ballfields.

    (The Center for Western Priorities created an interactive map showing how LWCF has made national parks whole by paying to buy inholdings from private landowners.) And if put to a straight-up vote, reauthorization would pass both the House and Senate with bipartisan majorities.
    The sunsetting of the LWCF was greeted with dismay by conservationists and by many of the legislators from both parties who have long supported it, including Republican Sen. Steve Daines and Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana. At a Tuesday breakfast organized by the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in support of LWCF, Daines said, “I personally don’t think Rob (Bishop’)s view, and others have said this, necessarily reflects probably where most of the conference is now.”
    Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Arizona had some scathing words for the House in a statement: “You can see just how extreme some House Republicans really are when a popular conservation program with a spotless, fifty-year history of bipartisan reauthorization expires thanks to their partisan games. They can’t pass a highway bill, they can’t fund the government, they’re still struggling with a defense bill, and now they insist that LWCF funding has to stop.”
    Congress is authorized to allocate up to $900 million annually to LWCF, not from taxpayers’ dollars but from royalties paid by energy companies drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf.

    It rarely gives the fund anywhere close to that, though, and in recent years has sent about two-thirds of the allocation to the general treasury. As a result, the program has accumulated a $20 billion IOU, which Rep. Bishop cites as a reason not to continue funding it. But that money isn’t just lying around waiting to be spent, explains Mary Hollow, executive director of Montana-based Prickly Pear Land Trust, in the Helena Independent Record: “This is a paper account with nothing in it — there are only cobwebs,” she said. “The $20 billion has already been spent — diverted to fund other things … it’s inaccurate and unrealistic to think that if LWCF expires and we lose our authorization and revenue source that it would be business as usual.”
    So what’s likely to happen next? “This is a sad day for everyone who cares about our national parks and outdoor conservation, recreation and wildlife.

    Congress has broken an enduring promise to the American people,” said Alan Rowsome, senior director at the Wilderness Society and co-chair of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, in a statement.

    But the coalition, the outdoor recreation industry, other conservation groups, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers aren’t just mourning the program’s loss — they’ll be kicking efforts into high gear to get the LWCF reauthorized as quickly as possible.
    And Congressional supporters are looking for those opportunities. Sen. Daines told the breakfast meeting that reauthorization has “a higher probability if we attach it to another piece of legislation,”

    so they’ll be looking for some piece of must-pass legislation before the end of the year, like the omnibus spending bill or a highway and transportation bill. He and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, have also cosponsored legislation introduced by Sen. Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, that permanently reauthorizes the program, and Tester cosponsored a bill that goes farther, locking in the full appropriation of $900 million so it can’t be siphoned off for other uses.

    Rep. Grijalva and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick co-sponsored a permanent reauthorization bill as well. When introducing it, Grijalva said, “Drawing out the uncertainty over the program’s funding every few years serves no one, especially when our constituents so strongly believe in the LWCF’s mission and value to the country. We should make it permanent, avoid prolonged budget battles and

    get back to the business of protecting our natural spaces.

    Anything less is a disservice to the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt and the generations of Americans who gave us the many beautiful American landscapes we enjoy today.”
    Jodi Peterson is a senior editor at High Country News. Follow @peterson_jodi