Outdoors Groups Pan Rep. Rob Bishop Proposal to Dismantle the Land & Water Conservation Fund

Nov 18, 2015
Conservation, Hunting and Fishing Organizations Reject Attack on America’s Most Important Conservation Program

“We’re alarmed this bill will only further threaten America’s national parks.  It would effectively dismantle one of America’s most successful conservation tools on the cusp of the Park System Centennial.  We Urge Chairman Bishop to reconsider this damaging proposal and instead give the public what it has been asking for – an intact conservation fund that will ensure the continuing protection of America’ best idea – our national parks.”

- National Parks Conservation Association

“Rep. Bishop’s bill is a deliberate effort by anti-conservation extremists to dismantle a successful and popular bipartisan program and distract Congress from the urgent need to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund in its current form.

- Alan Rowsome, The Wilderness Society

“We support all of the programs within LWCF, and are eager to see it reauthorized and fully funded. Unfortunately, Chairman Bishop’s draft legislation would drastically cut some of these important programs. We believe there is a better path to ensure LWCF can continue to benefit families and economies in America for generations to come.”

- Tom Cors, The Nature Conservancy

“Rep. Bishop’s bill would damage a program which has helped millions of American families in all 50 states, from local parks to national parks.  We’ve all heard the old adage that we shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken.  LWCF doesn’t need to be fixed.  What it needs is to be reauthorized this year.  Congress must act quickly to guarantee long-term protection for the lands we all love.”

- Will Rogers, President, The Trust for Public Land

“[The proposal is] a slap in the face to American Sportsmen.  The fact that Congressman Bishop - at last - has allowed dialogue regarding the LWCF's future to commence in his committee has value.  But as currently proposed, his bill doesn't stand a chance. We urge Congressman Bishop to work on real solutions and not waste the American people's time. The American people deserve full and permanent reauthorization of LWCF. It's what we want and what we are committed to achieving."

- Land Tawney, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

“The Land & Water Conservation Fund works for Montanans and all Americans.  To say it needs 'reform' is an insult to its 50-year track record of success.  This legislation should be seen what it is: an ideologically driven effort to torpedo America's most successful conservation and access program."

- Hannah Ryan, Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

“[Chairman] Bishop’s plan to scrap one of our nation’s most conservative and effective conservation programs is another example of just how extreme his anti-conservation agenda is. All of us who cherish and depend on America’s great outdoors—whether we hunt, fish, hike, camp, ride, or own an outdoor recreation related business—will be irrevocably harmed by this legislation.”

- David Jenkins, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship

“In spite of its 50-year track record of protecting special places across the U.S., Chairman Bishop is proposing to divert dedicated conservation funding from LWCF to oil and gas industry interests, while adding more rules and restrictions that will cripple the future of our nation’s most successful conservation program. LWCF should be reauthorized and fully funded, without reallocating its dedicated funding to non-conservation purposes and away from our National Trails, Parks, and Forests, and other iconic landscapes in need of protection.”

- Susan Arnold, Appalachian Mountain Club

“[Rep. Bishop] released a bill on LWCF that effectively destroys the program, redirecting the funds to expand offshore gas and drilling, dramatically limiting how much of the funding can be used for public lands, and creating a maze of bureaucracy that denies local communities a voice in land management decisions.”

- Outdoor Alliance

“[Bishop’s] radical new bill is miles apart from the original intent of the program, which is to conserve places for future generations and increase outdoor recreation opportunities across the country.”

- Andy French, League of Conservation Voters

“Congressman Bishop seeks to replace LWCF with a scheme that completely betrays the program’s land conservation purposes. His rewrite represents a radical departure from the fundamental values and stewardship ethic on which LWCF is based, and his attempt to pawn this off as some sort of revision must be rejected.

- Rev. Mitch Hescox, Evangelical Environmental Network

“Reform is just a diversion to run the clock down on the program. At best, it means taking funding away from America’s outdoor families. At worst, it means killing LWCF completely.”

“All we need is full funding for LWCF.  Reform is just a diversion to run the clock down on the program.  At best, it means taking funding away from America's outdoor families.  At worst, it means killing LWCF completely.”

- Kathy Hadley, Montana Wildlife Federation.

"If you are a hunter or angler in Montana, you’ve used an access point purchased through LWCF.  The program doesn’t need reform, it just needs reauthorization and full funding."

- Jim Vashro, Flathead Wildlife

“Montana has long been a leader in the effort to fund and reauthorize LWCF.  We will not let attacks on the program distract us from moving forward.”

- Glenn Marx, Montana Association of Land Trusts

“Representative Rob Bishop is trying to replace America’s best parks and conservation program with a grab bag of his pet projects. In spite of its fifty-year track record of success, Representative Bishop is proposing we kill the Land and Water Conservation Fund’s primary purpose and turn it into a handout for special interests like oil companies, giving away the money that should preserve our American lands for all Americans. There is no reason to gut this popular program and divert money away from our public lands.”

- Jennifer Rokala, Center for Western Priorities

“By severely limiting land protections west of the 100th meridian, Congressman Bishop just wrote a gift to developers who want to build trophy homes inside our national treasures. 93 percent of the National Park Service acres eligible for protection using LWCF funds are west of the 100th meridian. That includes thousands of acres in Rob Bishop’s own backyard—private land inside Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks—in addition to lands within some of America’s most iconic parks like Grand Teton and Yosemite. This bill would ensure the Park Service never has enough money to protect those lands for future generations.”

- George Zimmerman, Center for Western Priorities

"Backed by developers, drillers, and other narrow interests, Rep. Bishop led the charge to allow the Land and Water Conservation Fund to die last month. Now his bill would put the nail in the coffin of America’s most important conservation program.

- Margie Alt, Environment America

“When Rob Bishop proposes gutting LWCF, he’s really talking about prioritizing Big Oil over our veterans. This plan is hostile to those who served. This is our American heritage, our history that Rep. Bishop is giving away. The Congressman single-handedly ensured the expiration of America’s parks program, and now threatens to dismember it entirely.”

- Garett Reppenhagen, Vet Voice Foundation

“This is an insult to any New Mexican who values or uses public lands either for recreation or to make a living.  Our public lands are critical to the state’s economy, supporting 68,000 direct jobs in tourism and outdoor recreation. Instead of offering a real solution that will reauthorize LWCF, Bishop has proposed a wildly ideological bill that would divert one-third of LWCF receipts away from conservation entirely and stop nearly every current federal LWCF project in the western United States, including New Mexico, dead in its tracks.”

- Alexandra Merlino, New Mexico Partnership for Responsible Business

“I believe our New Mexico Members of Congress can see through Bishop’s ruse here and will continue to fight for a bipartisan solution that will see the LWCF restored and fully funded so that New Mexicans and visitors will continue to have access to our state’s unspoiled public natural beauty.  We know that Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Representatives Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham will continue to work hard for LWCF’s reauthorization on behalf of all New Mexicans.”

- Katie Macaulay, Santa Fe Mountain Kids

“This is a prime example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Representative Bishop had all year to reauthorize LWCF, but he chose to let it expire. He has been America’s biggest obstacle to renewing this popular program.  His latest effort at ‘leadership’ will most assuredly do more harm than good. Bishop’s obfuscation leaves the reauthorization of our nation’s most important program for parks, forests, preserves, and recreational facilities twisting in the wind.”

- Carrie Hamblen, The Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce


Amy E. Lindholm, Director, LWCF Campaign, The Wilderness Society, 202-429-2663, amy_lindholm@tws.org

Justin Bartolomeo, LWCFCoalition.org, (202) 789-4365, jbartolomeo@hdmk.org