Daines: Protect LWCF and Vote NO on David Bernhardt
The nominee for Interior secretary would be a disaster for a conservation program that Daines has been championing
On Thursday, March 28th, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) will meet to consider the nomination of David Bernhardt as the next Secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt worked for several years as an oil and gas lobbyist before becoming deputy secretary of the Interior under former Secretary Ryan Zinke and later acting secretary.
If Senator Steve Daines intends on putting his money where his mouth is, he’ll oppose Bernhard’s nomination simply because Bernhard has all but assured the American public that he intends on crippling a bipartisan, hugely popular program that Daines is currently championing – the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was permanently reauthorized by a bipartisan supermajority but not funded just last week.
The budget that the Department of the Interior recently proposed under Bernhardt would slash funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by 105 percent compared to last year, pulling back about $23 million of what was appropriated this year.
Call Sen. Daines now at 202-224-2651 and tell him to oppose Bernhardt's nomination.
LWCF uses fees and royalties from off-shore drilling to pay for a host of conservation and recreation projects on public lands and in local communities. In Montana, LWCF has paid for trailheads, trails, protection of wildlife habitat, soccer fields, playgrounds, baseball diamonds, swimming pools, and many other things that sustain our quality of life. Seventy percent of our state’s fishing access sites have, for instance, been paid with LWCF funds.
All in all, Montana has benefitted to the tune of nearly $600 million for recreation and conservation projects in the 50 years the program has been in existence. Between 2005 and 2014 , Montana received $240.3 million from LWCF, which contributed to the purchase of more than 800 recreational sites across Montana.
Without LWCF, Montanans would not have nearly the same number of opportunities we now have to fish, hunt, hike, float, ski, snowmobile, and ride horses and OHVs. That’s why Daines joined with Senator Jon Tester in championing LWCF and making sure that permanent reauthorization was included in the lands package Congress recently passed and the president last week signed.
Despite how popular this program is, despite how much it has benefitted millions of Americans and thousands of communities, and despite the fact that almost all Americans pay absolutely nothing for it, Bernhardt is not only proposing one of the most extreme cuts to LWCF in its history; he is also attempting to prevent previously approved projects from being funded.
Daines would be working against his own stated priorities and Montana’s best interests if he supports Bernhardt.
- Kayje Booker, MWA policy & advocacy director