Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965

In the Spring 2010 issue of the The Living Bird, a publication of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, an editorial by John Fitzpatrick, the Louis Agassiz Fuertes Director, discusses funding for National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Forests. I'm just passing along some of that info.
The LWCF (the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965) earmarked a portion of the annual proceeds gained from depleting nonrenewable resources (outer continental shelf mineral, oil, and gas leases) to help funding for purchasing in-holdings, strategic expansions, and buffer areas for national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, grasslands, river systems, and seashores. The act also provided that a portion of these funds would be transferred to states and local governments for similar purposes. Currently more than than $13 billion dollars has been provided for these purposes but, since 1965, the recorded balance in off-shore oil revenues credited to, but NOT APPROPRIATED from, the LWCF is $17 billion dollars. For 46 years the LWCF has been authorized to receive $900 million annually from those oil and gas revenues but only once, 1998, has that amount been actually appropriated. The proposed fiscal year 2011 federal budget requests more than $600 million dollars for the LWCF (including $384 million for federal land acquisition, $100 million for the USDA Forestry Legacy Program, $85 million for the cooperative endangered species fund, and $50 million for state transfers and grants).
Environmental protection occurs in many ways and public ownership of, and management of, some of our key national resources is one critical path.