BHA strongly condemns a set of House bills that would undermine America’s most successful conservation and access program
WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is strongly criticizing four bills in the House of Representatives that target the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Great American Outdoors Act, the bipartisan law that guarantees continued funding for the LWCF.
Together, the four bills would hamper the ability of public land management agencies to strategically acquire areas of important fish and wildlife habitat and key locations for public access. HR 2207, HR 2158, and HR 2169 would defund the acquisition of public lands by the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service through LWCF funds. HR 2153 would severely limit the acquisition of public land by the Bureau of Land Management with a funding cap of $28 million, less than half the proposed budget. Prohibiting these agencies from using all LWCF tools will lead to management inefficiencies and prevent critical investments that expand public access.
Hunters and fishermen, including BHA members and supporters, have played a key role in sustaining the LWCF, America’s most popular and successful access and conservation program. BHA members helped push through the bipartisan Dingell Act, which permanently reauthorizes LWCF, in 2019, and subsequently passed the Great American Outdoors Act in 2020. With strong bipartisan support led by Republicans and Democrats, The Great American Outdoors Act was Advanced by three-fourths of members of Congress and signed into law by President Trump, a strong supporter of the program. GAOA secures full and permanent funding for LWCF at $900 million annually, ensuring the program’s continued ability to conserve important habitats and recreational lands and waters throughout the United States.
“Together, hunters and fishermen have made some critical conservation gains in recent years,” said John Gale, BHA vice president of policy and government relations, “but our constant vigilance is critical, as there will always be forces trying to take away those victories Today, we are united in opposing legislation that would steal one of our greatest conservation gains to date this century, and today, we remain committed to keeping the Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars working in the name of conservation, public access and our hard-earned outdoor life. traditions
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund exists today because millions of Americans, including BHA members who have called and emailed our elected officials, outdoor advocates who have spoken out, companies who have taken advantage of their influence and elected leaders who rallied on both sides of the aisle, worked together relentlessly,” Gale continued. “The LWCF story is a story of American democracy, of shared commitment in the name of public lands, conservation and access. Together we must act as sentinels to defend our victories and secure the future of our outdoor heritage.”
Since its inception in 1964, the LWCF has funded more than 40,000 projects and provided access to millions of acres of public land, all without spending taxpayer dollars. Places ranging from Tenderfoot Creek, Montana, to Bayou Sauvage, Louisiana, depend on LWCF to support local economies, enhance hunting and fishing opportunities, and maintain quality habitat for elk, duck, trout, and other game species. that thrive on our public lands and waters. .
BHA members speak out against HR 2207, 2158, 2169 and 2153 and in support of LWCF.
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