By Jamie Wolf, Missoula
It is a breath of fresh air when members of congress put partisanship aside and work across the aisle. I applaud Republican Senator Daines and Democratic Senator Tester for championing the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in February, and recently supporting an amendment for full, dedicated funding of LWCF in FY2020. Congressman Gianforte needs to support the bipartisan bill in the House that would also provide full, dedicated funding.
LWCF is NOT funded by taxpayers. It was a common-sense, bi-partisan commitment by congress in 1964 to use royalties from the extraction of natural resources—offshore oil and gas—to support the health of and public access to other natural resources— our land and water. It supports national parks and forests, critical wildlife habitat and drinking water, historic battlefields, and local parks, trails and recreation, including 70% of Montana’s public fishing access sites. The Montana lifestyle—and our $7.1 billion outdoor economy—owes much to LWCF.
Over time, Congress has shirked its promise to the American people, diverting much of the annual $900 million from energy revenues intended for LWCF to other purposes. It’s time to get things back on track. Tester and Daines have stepped up. Where is Gianforte?