Congress is finally writing a budget for the current fiscal year. But the House of Representatives is cutting millions from a promise to protect our nation's land and outdoor recreation.
The House has proposed cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to just $58 million for the whole nation – a 90 percent cut from last year that will halt conservation investments. This successful program has protected places such as the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, and helped develop local parks such as Tumwater Historical Park, Tenino City Park and Capitol Lake.
Unfortunately members of the House have been misinformed, as the LWCF is not paid for with tax dollars. The money comes from the more than $6 billion in fees paid each year by oil companies for drilling offshore.
In comparison, President Barack Obama has outlined a plan to restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund to full funding without support from taxes on citizens. It is as an investment in the future of our communities that newly elected Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler needs to understand.
I think we can all agree that our government needs to live within our means, but the House of Representatives’ plan ignores that this program has the means and is playing politics.
Congress should not walk away from its commitment to our outdoor heritage.