The House Interior Appropriations heard the FY 2014 Interior Appropriations bill on Wednesday and added eight amendments before taking their August recess.  The bill eliminates all funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF—America’s foremost conservation program—for the first time in history. The Appropriations Subcommittee had passed the measure in the third week of July and not only zero-funds the LWCF, but also reduces the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service budget by 27 percent and slashed the Environmental Protection Agency budget for the coming year by 34 percent, while ordering the EPA not to take any action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund gives federal, state, and local governments money to purchase land, water, and wetlands for public use and enjoyment. These places provide millions of Americans with access to pristine hunting and fishing areas, archeological and historical sites, and preserves wildlife habitat and clean water.  In addition to cutting the USFWS budget so drastically, this bill will block the Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to administratively establish new wildlife refuges or expand their boundaries.

LWCF is not paid for with taxpayer dollars.  Instead, Congress committed 40 years ago to using a small portion of revenues from offshore drilling to go to natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs, using offshore money, in effect, to protect what’s onshore.  The fact that the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee would zero-out the LWCF funding is particularly distressing given that they’re not following their own mantra for “less taxes and less government,” rather, leaving the funds already set aside in the LWCF account to be diverted for other random, unknown and unaccountable purposes.

The Obama administration proposed that the FY 2014 Interior Appropriation provide $600 million to LWCF and the Senate-passed budget provides $646 million. The House Appropriations subcommittee budget for LWCF is zero, which means we should act now to make sure the Senate version of the bill prevails when Congress meets again in September.

Write, email or call one of the following Florida Congressmen today.  You can email members by clicking on the links below.  Tell your Congressman to:

Oppose Elimination of the Land and Water Conservation in the FY 2014 House Interior Appropriations Bill.  Make the House bill match up with the Senate version.

Florida Congressional Members on Appropriations or Related Committees

Senate

  • Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL/Sr) – Finance, Budget

716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-5274
www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Let Senator Nelson know you stand with the Senate version of the Interior Appropriations bill, so you want him to stand strong when the Senate and House negotiate their differences.

House Appropriations and Relevant Committees

The following Florida Congressmen should hear from you that Floridians want the Senate version of the Interior Appropriations bill.

Rep. Steve Southerland  (R-FL/2) – Ag, Resources
1229 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5235
https://southerland.house.gov/index.cfm/email-me

Rep. Ander Crenshaw  (R-FL/4) – Appropriations
440 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-2501
http://crenshaw.house.gov/

Rep. Gus Michael Bilirakis  (R-FL/12) – E&C
2313 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-5755
http://bilirakis.house.gov/

Rep. C. W. Young  (R-FL/13) – Appropriations
2407 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5961
http://young.house.gov/

Rep. Katherine Castor  (D-FL/14) – Budget, E&C
205 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3376
http://castor.house.gov/

Rep. Vern Buchanan  (R-FL/16) – Ways & Means
2104 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5015
http://buchanan.house.gov/

Rep. Tom Rooney  (R-FL/17) – Ag Approps
221 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5792
http://rooney.house.gov/

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz  (D-FL/23) – Appropriations
118 Cannon H.O.B
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-7931

http://wassermanschultz.house.gov/

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart  (R-FL/25) – Appropriations
436 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4211

http://mariodiazbalart.house.gov/

Rep. Joe Garcia  (D-FL/26) – Resources
1440 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-2778

http://garcia.house.gov/

 

Proposed Florida Projects

Lathrop Bayou Habitat Management Area            $412,000

Florida/Georgia Longleaf Pine, Apalachicola and Osceola NFs      $6,400,000

Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area                $3,000,000

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge    $13,635,850

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge           $32,912,000

St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge        $1,000,000

Historic Florida Spending: Dollars from the LWCF has amounted to nearly $946 million in over the past four decades, protecting places such as the Big Cypress National Preserve and Biscayne National Park. Florida has also received approximately $3 million in Forest Legacy Program grants, which have been matched by approximately $23 million in funding from other sources.  Each year, 2.8 million sportsmen and 4.2 million wildlife watchers combine to spend $8.1 billion on wildlife-associated recreation in Florida.

Public lands such the Everglades National Park, Florida National Scenic Trail, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and numerous landscapes in between have benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Forest Legacy Program grants, funded under LWCF, help protect working forests while enhancing wildlife habitat and recreation across Florida at places such as the Northeast Florida Timberlands in Clay County. LWCF state assistance grants have supported hundreds of projects across Florida’s state and local parks.  LWCF state assistance grants have further supported hundreds of projects across Florida’s state and local parks including Cape Florida State Recreation Area in Dade County, Caspersen Beach in Sarasota County, and Paynes Prairie State Preserve in Alachua County.

 Please Act Today!

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