It’s “go” time once again!
In June, the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association joined over 40 conservation leaders in strong support of the passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act (s. 3422). Congress passed it and the President signed it into law on August 4, 2020. The next big decisions relate to funding the Great American Outdoors Act, see the message from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition, if you’d like to help.
Message from Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition:
This collaborative has been extremely vigilant since passage of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) to ensure this law, which finally after 55 years provides full dedicated funding of LWCF, will be implemented properly. Our success is not complete until these funds actually make it into the ground and empower the incredible work protecting the places we love, increasing access to outdoors for all, and investing in communities’ physical, mental and economic health with conservation and recreation infrastructure.
So far, Congress has made a good-faith effort to implement GAOA properly, but the transition to full mandatory funding is a tricky one and it’s critical to get it right this first year. The Administration, on the other hand, has NOT made a good-faith effort and instead sought to delay, distract and throw gunk in the gears of the successful, ground-up LWCF process. All our work to see GAOA through to execution is now coming to fruition in final conference negotiations to the FY21 Interior Appropriations bill, going on NOW and set to wrap up quickly.
How to help:
Our bipartisan champions in the House want to support proper implementation of GAOA’s LWCF provisions in FY21, and are circulating a Dear Colleague letter on a quick turnaround so please reach out to your Members TODAY to ask them to sign on! We have three key topline asks to make of Congress in its final FY21 bill, which are included in the letter:
- Faithfully follow the Dingell Act’s 40-40-20 balance in LWCF allocations to ensure that federal agency conservation priority projects AND the five LWCF-funded state and local grant programs are all served well. Congress worked long and hard to get bipartisan consensus on this issue before passing permanent reauthorization last year, and reaffirmed its commitment in GAOA, so we urge them to make sure the math is right in this first year of full dedicated funding. The House FY21 Interior bill does get it right, while the Senate falls slightly short (shortchanging the federal side), so we support the House position on this in conference.
- In the absence of an updated project list from the Administration that complies with the law, include the original LWCF FY21 project list sent to the Appropriations Committees in May as part of the final bill. The Senate FY21 Interior bill does this, which we appreciate and support.
- Prohibit implementation of Secretarial Order #3388 issued by DOI in November. The order is an attempted end-run on Congress to change settled LWCF law, and impose restrictions that were explicitly rejected in the legislative process. Congress must defend its historic conservation achievements of the last two years on LWCF by insisting DOI abide by the Dingell Act and GAOA.
We have only two days to gather signatures so please reach out to Members ASAP, and ask them to contact Brittaney Koehler in Rep. Thompson’s office (Brittaney.Koehler@mail.house.gov) or James Longley with Rep. Fitzpatrick (James.Longley@mail.house.gov) to sign on by COB tomorrow, Friday 12/4. If negotiations continue into next week we may extend this, but want to make sure it’s delivered while it can still have impact so time is of the essence!
[Updated on Dec. 3, 2020]
The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association joined over 40 conservation leaders in strong support of the passage of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act (s. 3422) as soon as possible and without amendments. This bill would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually and provide $9.5 billion over five years to fix maintenance problems that are plaguing America’s public lands.
Letter of Support for the Great American Outdoors Act submitted June 15, 2020 (pdf)
[Updated June 15, 2020]