Why the Land and Water Conservation Fund is vital to New Mexico
Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was created by Congress in 1964 to fund land and water conservation programs in all 50 U.S. states. The program receives all of its revenue from royalties generated by offshore oil and gas drilling operations, so none of the funds come from taxpayers.
Since the program's implementation, the LWCF has funded conservation projects in all 33 New Mexico counties. Popular public lands like the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, the Continental Divide Trail, Valles Caldera, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, the state's national forests, and even city parks, have received more than $300 million to protect and restore New Mexico's land and water.
Congress failed to reauthorize the LWCF in September 2018, leading to the loss of tens of millions of dollars for America’s public lands. A federal public lands package that was signed into law in March 2019 reauthorized the program. However, the LWCF has still never been fully funded.
Legislation currently before Congress - H.R.3195 Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act - would permanently fund the LWCF, ensuring that public lands across New Mexico and the United States receive the funds they need for the forseeable future.
New Mexico's entire Congressional delegation is supportive of efforts to permanently fund the LWCF. However, they need to hear from constituents like you to be reassured that they have your support.