Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet announced growing momentum for his long-time priority to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) with the announcement of bipartisan legislation to provide such funding.
“In Colorado, public lands define our identity and drive our economy. That’s why I’ve worked for years to permanently authorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and protect public lands in Colorado,” said Bennet. “I’m glad to see support coalescing around the proposal I’ve led for over a decade. We have a great opportunity in front of us to secure long-term public land funding, so that we can leave our public lands and iconic parks in better shape for our kids and grandkids. Now we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work to seize the opportunity.”
The legislation announced today, of which Bennet will be an original cosponsor, will also address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service (NPS) with the inclusion of the Restore Our Parks Act. Bennet cosponsored the Restore Our Parks Act in 2018 and was an original cosponsor of the legislation when it was reintroduced in 2019.
Bennet has made permanently reauthorizing and fully funding LWCF a top priority since joining the Senate in 2009.
Bennet led the effort to permanently reauthorize the program in Congress with U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), introducing bipartisan legislation in 2015, and in every subsequent Congress. When LWCF expired in September 2015, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor and wrote to Congressional leadership to help secure a three-year authorization in the end-of-year spending bill. When the program was set to expire in September 2018, Bennet worked with Burr to file an amendment to the Farm Bill. He also introduced a separate bill with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Burr to permanently reauthorize and fully fund LWCF. In March 2019, he successfully advocated for the permanent reauthorization of LWCF as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, and later reintroduced bipartisan legislation to permanently and fully fund the program.
Over the years, Bennet has visited several LWCF-funded projects in Colorado, including the Animas River Trail in 2016 and the Yampa River Project in 2018, to learn about and highlight the importance of LWCF in Colorado. LWCF has invested more than $281 million in Colorado projects since its inception.
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