WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., asked for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which calls for the preservation of national parks, watersheds and wildlife habitats.
“I have to tell you I’m frustrated today that we’re talking about creating some new demands … when we still have not fully funded the (Land and Water Conservation Fund),” he said during a Senate committee hearing.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF, uses revenue from federal offshore natural-gas and oil fees to conserve public lands and waters for recreational use. The fund has helped to preserve the Grand Canyon National Park and create the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa.
This offshore drilling occurs in the Outer Continental Shelves, which are near the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
However, LWCF’s $900 million in annual funding also has been put to use in other areas not related to conservation efforts, according to the LWCF website.
Udall called for full funding of LWCF with other senators in February, saying the money should be directed toward buying land and supporting management agencies, according to a Feb. 14 news release.
Last year, Colorado received almost $700,000 in funding from LWCF, which contributed to the preservation of Cherry Creek State Park in Arapahoe County and Cottonwood Creek Trail in El Paso County, according to the LWCF 2011 annual report.
Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources as well as chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks.
Paige Jones is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. Reach her at email@example.com.