Email From: American Land Rights Association
Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 7:52 AM
To: Alabama Forest Owners' Association
Subject: Congress LWCF Battle Continues, Greens seek to make LWCF a permanent Trust Fund.
Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-3087 Fax: (360) 687-2973
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003
Congress LWCF Battle Continues, Greens seek to make LWCF a permanent Trust Fund.
Giant Appropriations Omnibus Funding Bill working its way through Congress. Your calls at this last minute really count.
Rep Mike Simpson (R-ID) supports more land acquisition and eminent domain. Read the details below. You can call him at (202) 225-3121.
-----1. Call both your Senators to oppose reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as a permanent Trust Fund. Any reauthorization should be limited to seven (7) years. There must be no permanent Trust Fund.
The LWCF is how the Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management buy millions of acres of private land and make it government land taking it off the tax rolls. It funds eminent domain (condemnation) by these agencies.
The Park Service alone has purchased the homes, farms and land of over
100,000 landowners, many under the threat of condemnation. The LWCF is the enemy of rural America, ranching, farming and private land ownership. Any Senator can be called at (202) 224-3121.
-----2. Call your Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) as a permanent Trust Fund.
Call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121.
-----3. Please forward this message to at least 10 other people. Your whole list if possible.
Danger Alert -- Green LWCF advocates push Congress to renew LWCF in giant Omnibus Spending Bill. This giant Omnibus Appropriations bill is so long and so big that no one has read it completely (S-1645) (HR 2822). They trade votes so that your Congressman may vote for the LWCF without even knowing it or taking responsibility for his vote.
The bill follows what the Washington Post referred to years ago as “One Man, One Park”. Or don’t tax you, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree. Someone else said, “you get a park, I get a park, everyone gets a park” without anyone having to take responsibility or anyone having to take an individual vote on a provision of the bill.
Environmentalists are ratcheting up the pressure on the House and Senate to include a permanent extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in the Omnibus fiscal year 2016 spending bill
(S-1645) (HR 2822).
The conservationists are asking Congressional leaders to include a permanent reauthorization of the program in the catchall bill now being negotiated by House and Senate appropriators.
“This is America’s hardest-working conservation program, which expired on September 30,” said The Wilderness Society in a statement. “It has invested in parks and open spaces in virtually every county in the U.S. and requires no taxpayer dollars. It simply needs to be reauthorized and fully funded, but not ‘reformed’ in a way that cripples its effectiveness.”
This statement is of course not true. There is no Land and Water Conservation trust fund. Congress must appropriate the money each year competing with education, the military, health care, Social
Security and much more. All the money comes from you, the taxpayer.
The “reformed” reference is pointed at a discussion draft bill prepared by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah). It would slash funding for the federal side of LWCF but give more support to the state side.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) advocates more Federal land acquisition.
Meanwhile, the American Hiking Society is speaking favorably of a new LWCF extension bill (HR 4151) from veteran House Appropriations Committee member Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). Simpson at one time chaired the House subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations, which is responsible for writing annual spending bills that allocate LWCF money.
HR 4151, introduced December 1, would direct appropriators to allocate
40 percent of LWCF money each year to federal land acquisition; 40 percent to a combination of state LWCF grants, Forest Legacy grants, endangered species grants and an American Battlefield Protection Program; and 20 percent to flexible funding.
Conservationists said the Simpson legislation, based on a provision approved twice this year by the Senate Energy Committee, would be acceptable to them, although it would not give them all that they have requested in the past. A “talking points” white paper prepared by the American Hiking Society contrasted Simpson’s bill with Bishop’s bill.
Said the hiking group, “Unlike the proposal from Chairman Bishop of the House Natural Resources Committee, HR 4151 addresses questions about reforming LWCF without causing major damage to the program’s core conservation mission or the diversity and flexibility of tools available to communities.”
The society concluded, “HR 4151 is a reasonable, viable path forward for LWCF that represents common ground between the two current reauthorization proposals in the House (HR 1814, which has nearly 200 bipartisan cosponsors, and the Bishop proposal). Members are urged to cosponsor (even if they are already cosponsors of HR 1814) and press Leadership for inclusion of this language in the omnibus appropriations package.”
HR 1814 referred to by the American Hiking Society is a bill much-desired by the conservation community that would not only extend LWCF permanently but would also guarantee $900 million each year for the program. The Senate Energy Committee/Simpson measure would not guarantee LWCF money permanently. Ranking House Natural Resources Committee Democrat Raśl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced HR 1814.
In addition to the reauthorization of the base LWCF program, the architects of the Omnibus spending bill are being asked to increase an annual appropriation for LWCF.
The Obama administration budget asks for full funding for LWCF in fiscal 2016 of $900 million. But the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of an Interior bill (HR 2822) June 18 that would appropriate just $139 million for the traditional federal land acquisition and state grants. The Senate Appropriations Committee June
23 sent to the floor a counterpart bill (S 1645) with $212.5 million for LWCF.
Western Republicans and conservationists have been battling over LWCF priorities for decades. The western Republicans say Congress has overemphasized federal acquisition at the expense of state grants.
Said Bishop at a November 18 hearing of his committee, “The bottom line is what we have to do is make sure the state side program – the program people like – has to be emphasized. The (federal) program which interest groups are using to fund themselves without any accountability, that has to be controlled.”
“LWCF stateside funding has been hijacked by land conservation advocates at the expense of outdoor recreation,” he said.
“Stateside supporters believe strongly in conservation goals - but not at the expense of what was once a comprehensive, meaningful outdoor recreation program.”
After a 50-year run the LWCF Act expired on September 30, although Congress can still appropriate money for it in annual spending bills, such as the fiscal 2016 Interior appropriations bills.
In addition on November 19 Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill (S 2318) to extend LWCF for 10 years. He would rejigger the formula by directing appropriators to put up 60 percent for states and
40 percent for federal land buys.
The House has not been as active as the Senate. One bill to reauthorize LWCF (HR 1814) has been introduced, albeit with more than
140 cosponsors from both parties, led by Grijalva. And on December 1 Simpson introduced his bill.
For the traditional LWCF the House bill contains $139 million - $91 million federal and $48 million for state grants. That represents a
$74.7 million decrease from fiscal 2015 for the federal side and the same for state grants.
The Senate committee approved $73.5 million more for the traditional LWCF in total than the House - $212.5 million, with $157.5 million for the federal side, or $66.5 million more than the House. For state grants the Senate approved a significant increase of $7 million, bringing the recommended appropriation to $55 million.
Some information in this Alert came from Parks and Recreation News.
You can find additional information about national issues and battles
American Land Rights has been involved in by going to Google and typing in the following search terms one at a time: Chuck Cushman, Charles Cushman, Charles S. Cushman, American Land Rights Association, National Inholders Association and League of Private Property Voters.
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