Press Releases

Adirondack Council Praises Congressional Approval for U.S. Land & Water Conservation Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Adirondack Council today cheered the New York Congressional delegation for its role in the revival of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which had been allowed to expire in September.

The Senate passed a bill reauthorizing the fund and making its revenue permanent in February. On Wednesday the House of Representatives approved the legislation 363-62.

“This is encouraging news on conservation funding, which is rare in Washington these days,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “We urge the President to sign this bill into law and end the practice of diverting this crucial funding away from its intended purposes.”

Janeway said he had a chance to thank Senate staff in person in mid-February while lobbying for acid rain research funding in Washington, DC. He was pleased to see the House pass the same bill.

Janeway noted that the Adirondack Council doesn’t accept public funding or taxpayer-supported donations of any kind. It wants to make the conservation funding available to state and local officials and land trusts that are interested in protecting park lands, open space, watersheds and farm lands.

The LWCF is supposed to receive $900 million per year from revenue derived from oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, which fuel companies pay to the federal government. 

The money is intended to help compensate for the environmental damage done by oil and gas exploration. It can be used to protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development. It can also provide matching grants for state and local parks, open space protection and public recreation projects. It has been used several times inside the Adirondack Park for that purpose, Janeway said.

Recently, Congress has consistently diverted this funding to non-conservation programs. Last year, Congress allowed LWCF’s authorization to expire.

If the reauthorization is made law, LWCF can provide assistance to states that want to protect working forests, wildlife habitat, critical drinking water supplies and disappearing battlefields, as well as increased use of conservation easements to protect forests and farmlands from development. 

Overall, LWCF supporters estimate that the $214 million that the Dept. of the Interior spent from LWCF on land acquisition in 2010 created $442 million in economic activity – more than doubling the return on investment – and about 3,000 jobs.

In New York, since its creation in 1964, the LWCF has funded more than 1,300 conservation projects, benefitting in all 62 counties. The last times Congress allowed LWCF money to be spent in NY were in 2010 and 2011. Those projects included improvements at:

  • Thompson's Lake State Park – Comfort Stations; Albany County
  • Riverbank State Park – Renovate Track Facility; Manhattan
  • Wildwood State Park – Renovation/development; Suffolk County
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park – Comfort Station; Westchester County
  • Chenango Valley State Park – Water Systems; Broome County
  • Keewaydin State Park – Renovate Bathhouse; Jefferson County
  • Higley Flow State Park – Renovate Toilet/Shower; St. Lawrence County

Inside the Adirondack Park, LWCF has been used for municipal parks such Peacock Park in the Village of Lake Placid, Essex County (2001) and the North Creek Ski Bowl in Johnsburg, Warren County (2001), as well as the Noble Trust tract acquisition by the Town of Willsboro (1996), Essex County, among many others.

“We are thrilled to see this funding source revived on the federal level,” Janeway said. “We hope it will start creating new investments and green jobs in New York very soon.”

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities. 

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action to ensure the legacy of the Adirondack Park is safeguarded for future generations. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

For more information:

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 cell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 28, 2019

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