Even in this time of tight budgets and sequestration, your efforts have helped us maintain over $400 million for land conservation programs in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill each year.
This morning, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a draft bill that would eliminate almost all funding for the acquisition of land and easements. The following programs would be zeroed out:
- Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
- Forest Legacy (FLP)
- North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
- Cooperative Endangered Species Program (Section 6) land acquisition
- State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (SWG)
- Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program
- Landscape Conservation Cooperatives
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be cut by 80% to $60 million.
These cuts are even more severe than those proposed by H.R. 1 back in the dark days of 2011 (see chart). Cutting LWCF and NAWCA to zero is particularly worrisome—not only would new projects stall, but realty staff and program infrastructure would be dismantled, leaving ongoing projects unfinished.
On the bright side, 2011 also proved that, with your help, we can recover. 216 reps defeated an amendment to eliminate LWCF, and subsequently adopted a modest increase. Half the NAWCA cuts were restored after an outcry from sportsmen. In the Senate, an overwhelming 77 senators voted to save Forest Legacy. Now is the time to thank your legislators for their past support and seek their help again.
For talking points, fact sheets, and letters of support, please visit our web pages on LWCF/Forest Legacy and NAWCA. Please let me know what you hear back from these offices and for the latest updates.
You can view a live webcast of the Subcommittee meeting starting right now (at 10:00am Eastern).
Thank you for being part of our Federal Funding Advocates team.
P.S. This email list is for land trust leaders that are interested in federal funding for conservation. Please let me know if there are others at your land trust or other Alliance members in your region who would like to subscribe.
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