From Trout Unlimited:
Sporting organizations representing hundreds of thousands of hunters and anglers delivered a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today, thanking her for her support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week.
In her statements, Secretary Jewell called for full and dedicated funding for this tool, which has helped protect some of the country’s best fish and game habitat.
Created in 1967, LWCF funnels revenues from offshore oil and gas extraction to purchase public land from willing landowners. This tool has been used to secure new public lands, provide access to existing lands for hunters and anglers, and fill in patchwork public lands, allowing for continuous habitat for fish and game. Originally authorized at $900 million per year, this non-taxpayer-funded program has dwindled in recent years, creating a backlog of needed acquisitions. By making the fund a mandatory spending program, it would prevent Congress from cutting it to fund other projects, and ensure consistent full funding from year to year.
America’s hunters and anglers know the value of these public lands better than any group, as they often hold the biggest fish and game, and support local rural economies by providing destinations for sportsmen. The letter, signed by The American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Isaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited, pledged that sportsmen would continue to work with Secretary Jewell and Congress to protect our public lands by investing in LWCF.
The letter from the above-mentioned organizations appears below:
American Fly Fishing Trade Association * Backcountry Hunters and Anglers * Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance * Isaak Walton League of America * National Wildlife Federation * Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership * Trout Unlimited
Secretary Sally Jewell Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20010
Dear Secretary Jewell,
As organizations representing hunters and anglers from across the country, we are writing to thank you for your comments made June 6th, 2013 before the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee about the importance of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to wildlife habitat and recreation. Sportsmen and women recognize the importance of balancing energy development with conservation of our prized public lands; LWCF is a critical tool for getting this done.
As you stated, it is “designed to make investments in conservation and recreation for the American people to balance the development of oil and gas resources. Protecting this balance through mandatory LWCF funding would reduce landscape fragmentation, making it more efficient to protect wildlife habitat, respond to wildfires and other natural disasters, and increase recreational access on the lands and waters that belong to every American.” America’s hunters and anglers agree. Our experiences in the outdoors have shown us the highest quality fish and game habitat is very often on public land, and LWCF is an essential tool to both acquiring and providing access to some of the best places to fish and hunt in the country.
For too many years, Congress has diverted LWCF monies — impacting habitat conservation and access to hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands nationwide. Thank you for championing full and dedicated funding of LWCF, and likewise the notion that conservation is as equally important as development of our public lands. We look forward to working with you and Congress to invest in our outdoor heritage, for the good of the next generation of sportsmen and women.
American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Isaak Walton League of America
National Wildlife Federation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Trout Unlimited