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Advocate Says Land And Water Funding Needs To Be Approved

National Park Service

U-S Senator Tammy Baldwin says she expects the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to pass soon.

Hunters, anglers and conservationists had asked the Wisconsin Democrat to work on its passage when they met with her last September.

The fund uses money from federal oil and gas leases for projects in parks, rivers and forests. It had expired four months ago. Baldwin says this passage will be permanent.

A spokesperson for Wisconsin Conservation Voters, a leading conservation group in the state, says the public perception of the fund isn't wholly accurate, according to Ryan Billingham,

"...This really isn't about large western tracks of land, national parks or large natural geographic features. In fact, this fund has created things and enhanced things as your corner park. In Rhinelander, West Side Park. Parks from large to small are affected by the LWCF and a lot of people don't know that, and that's unfortunate...."

The program expired in September, having been authorized by Congress since 1964. Billingham says the program does not use taxpayer funds...

"The fact is it comes from the fossil fuel industry. Off-shore drilling pays for the LWCF. It's a simple premis if you're going to extract from the Earth then we should get back some public lands and give back to the Earth, too...."

The fund has lost more than $300 million since it was allowed to expire by Congress.

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