WASHINGTON -- The Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued a new order Friday giving states and local governments the power to veto land acquisitions made through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The order comes just months after bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate voted to permanently expand LWCF through the Great American Outdoors Act.
From well-known wonders like the Grand Canyon to historic sites such as The Women's Rights National Historical Park, LWCF has funded important land acquisition projects to protect wildlife and our natural heritage.
Steve Blackledge, Senior Director of Environment America's Conservation Program, issued the following statement:
“This decision by the Trump administration is a big poke in the eye to the bipartisan coalition that worked together to pass the Great American Outdoors Act this summer. When that bill passed, so many Americans who cherish our wide open spaces rejoiced at the fact that the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been an effective and popular program for decades, would no longer be underfunded.
“But now Secretary Bernhardt is creating a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. This rule will gum up a process that has been refined for decades and has overwhelming support both in the Congress and with the general public. It will stop critical conservation projects that should move ahead. LWCF should be left alone to do what it does best, protect America’s beautiful landscape.”
“Our lives are made richer if surrounded by more nature, yet we lose two football fields a minute to development in this country. This program is one of our best tools to work against that trend, and in its time has helped conserve national treasures like Joshua Tree National Park, the Appalachian Trail and the Great Smokeys. The administration’s proposal is unneeded, unwanted and unacceptable. It should be walked back.”