O’Halleran Defends Land and Water Conservation Fund

February 11, 2021
Press Release

VILLAGE OF OAK CREEK—This week, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) joined a bipartisan group of over 80 Members of Congress on a letter to Scott de la Vega, the Acting Secretary of United States Department of the Interior, to request that the Department immediately reverse recent actions by former Secretary Bernhardt on the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that make harmful changes to the program, blocking new conservation efforts, and contradicting Congress’s express intent for the legislation.

“It is disquieting that, in its final days, the previous administration took action to kneecap the Land and Water Conservation Fund program,” said O’Halleran. “The Great American Outdoors Act was bipartisan and bicameral, but the changes made by the outgoing administration sought to undo much of the work that members from both sides of the aisle put into the LWCF, kneecapping the program and hamstringing public lands projects across the country. This cannot stand.”

View the lawmakers’ letter, HERE.

Last year, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 7092, the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation cosponsored by O’Halleran to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and create the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund, which will provide funding to the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Indian Education to fix buildings, trails, roads and other public infrastructure in need of repair over the next five years.

Since its creation, LWCF has invested hundreds of millions in Arizona parks, forests, and public lands, including Coconino National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona’s First Congressional District. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, LWCF investments help support Arizona’s $9.6 billion outdoor recreation industry, as well as 110,000 jobs, $4.8 billion in wages and salaries, and over $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue that come from our public lands every year.