Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar Endorses Funding for LWCF

from the National Recreation and Parks Association

The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been the source of funds for many projects that benefit the North Country Trail. JHY

In a departure from what NRPA has heard for a number of years from the Department of the Interior about the potential for increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has indicated a willingness to look at ways to creatively fund LWCF. Salazar said at a press conference on January 28, that he would like to see more funding to the LWCF program, possibly from the proceeds of oil and gas leasing royalties in a program similar to one he started in Colorado when he was head of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

Ken Salazar has long been a champion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. When he was a Senator from Colorado, he joined forces with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a bi-partisan effort to ensure that new lease revenues from expanded drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico were dedicated to the LWCF state assistance program in the Energy Security Act of 2006, the first time such dedicated funding was ever applied to LWCF since its inception in 1965.

Secretary Salazar said at the press conference, “I would like to see, with programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, if we might be able to do a similar thing with oil royalty reform, to engage in a similar type of effort across the country. We are just putting out ideas now but we will look at what we can do.” He also said, “Maybe as we deal with the royalty reform issue we might be able to create a revenue stream for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and we can do for all states the kinds of things we did in Colorado with the Great Outdoors Colorado program.”

This is welcome news, indeed, from the new Secretary of the Interior, and NRPA will be looking for ways to engage him further in a dialogue of how the “royalty-relief” funds could be used for LWCF purposes.

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