Ranchers Oppose Permanent Funding for Federal Land Acquisition Program

Land And Water Conservation Fund is opposed by cattlemen. ( NFS )

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee voted Tuesday to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was established in 1964. The bill now moves on to the full Senate.

The LWCF, which was permanently reauthorized this spring, receives most of its revenue from on- and offshore oil and gas drilling. The House Natural Resources Committee in June passed a bill that, if signed into law, would dedicate $900 million of annual royalty funds to LWCF.

Cattlemen, however, are opposed to permanent funding of LWCF.

Public Lands Council president Bob Skinner said in a statement, “Congress eliminated their primary oversight authority over the LWCF by permanently reauthorizing the program earlier this year.  If the LWCF Permanent Funding Act is enacted, what little ability lawmakers still have to oversee this $900 million checkbook will forever be lost.  It is irresponsible and reckless for the legislative branch to waive its duty to oversee this federal land acquisition vehicle.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president Jennifer Houston said, “There is already a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog on the lands that the federal government already administers.  Granting permanent funding to the LWCF, something usually reserved for things like Social Security and veterans benefits, would be a careless misuse of federal dollars.”