Michigan Senator Wants Conservation Fund Reauthorized

Michigan U.S Senator Gary Peters announced Friday that he is cosponsoring the bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act to permanently reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF uses revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to fund the protection of everything from wildlife refuges and national parks to lakes, rivers and community parks.

Michigan has received over $320 million in funding from the LWCF over the 50 year lifespan of the program, helping to protect places like Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, the North Country National Scenic Trail, and all of Michigan’s National Forests.

“Countless Michigan treasures like our forests, lakeshores and waters, and the people who enjoy them, benefit from the support the Land and Water Conservation Fund provides,” said Senator Peters. “Protecting our environmental resources is not just about good stewardship, it is also vital to our health, our economy and our way of life in Michigan. I’m proud to support this bipartisan legislation that will help keep Michigan’s most precious natural assets safe and clean for future generations.”

Outdoor recreation is a key component of Michigan’s economy, generating $18.7 billion in consumer spending and supporting nearly 200,000 jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 4.4 million people hunt, fish, or enjoy wildlife-watching in Michigan each year, contributing over $6.1 billion to the state’s economy.

Peters also joined a bipartisan group of 48 Senators in urging Senate Appropriations Committee leaders to provide strong funding for LWCF in the next fiscal year.

The Senators wrote in a letter to the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, “From protecting wildlife habitat, natural resource lands, outdoor recreation opportunities, and working forests at the local, state and federal levels, to expanding hunting and fishing access, the LWCF and Forest Legacy conserve important lands for current and future generations. Continued investments in these programs help our nation’s outdoor recreation, conservation and preservation economy, which supports millions of American jobs and contributes billions of dollars annually to the entire U.S. economy.”