Washington D.C. – One week after Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) bucked his party and took a stand against $16 million in cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) included in the congressional rescission bill, the League of Conservation Voters launched a more than $50,000 digital ad campaign calling out Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) for refusing to keep their word and voting for cuts to America’s best public lands conservation program.
Daines and Gardner spoke at a bipartisan press conference last week to rally support for reauthorizing and fully funding LWCF, which expires on September 30th unless Congress acts. Yet only three hours later, both senators voted to cut millions in already appropriated LWCF funds. In voting against the rescission bill, Burr cited LWCF and said that GOP leadership would not guarantee a vote for his amendment to restore funding for the conservation program. “It cut $16 million out of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Period, end of sentence,” Burr told CNN after the vote.
“Talk won’t save this crucial public lands program, but unfortunately that’s about all we’ve seen from Senators Gardner and Daines,” said Alex Taurel, LCV Deputy Legislative Director. “Instead of standing with Senator Burr and showing they’re serious about protecting the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Gardner and Daines turned around and voted to rescind $16 million that should have gone to parks and public lands. Saving LWCF has broad bipartisan support, but we need those supporters to show they’re serious by pushing leadership for a vote before the clock runs out — not flip-flopping on funding hours after a supposed call to action.”
The campaign includes digital ads on Colorado and Montana news websites, as well as Facebook ads that will run through the July 4th recess (the Colorado ads can be found here, here and here; Montana ads can be found here and here.) The push also includes Twitter ads in Washington, D.C. to ensure other members of Congress know they will be held accountable if they refuse to keep their word on LWCF.
LCV also launched new Facebook ads in response to a House Appropriations Committee vote to slash $65 million in LWCF funding from next year’s appropriations bill for the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and David Young (IA-03) both supported the funding cuts and have refused to sign onto a bipartisan bill (H.R. 502) to permanently reauthorize LWCF.
“It’s time for House leadership to come to the table and support LWCF — that means full funding and permanent reauthorization,” said Taurel. “Slashing millions in funding sends a message that Congress won’t stand up to the Trump administration’s plan to nearly eliminate our best parks program, hurting access to the outdoors for communities nationwide.”
LCV is also running ads thanking Representatives Nita Lowey (NY-17) and Betty McCollum (MN-04), the ranking members of the full Appropriations Committee and of the Interior-EPA Subcommittee respectively, for voting against these unacceptable LWCF cuts.
LWCF has helped protect some of America’s most iconic landscapes, including Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Glacier National Park in Montana. It’s also supported urban open spaces, from New York City’s Central Park to neighborhood ball fields and local parks in nearly every congressional district.
While LWCF is funded through revenue from offshore oil drilling instead of taxpayer dollars, Congress has chronically underfunded the program. The Trump administration’s recent budget proposals nearly eliminate LWCF entirely, slashing funding by roughly 90 percent. Earlier this month, LCV launched a $1 million campaign to build support for reauthorizing LWCF by highlighting parks in communities nationwide and holding members of Congress accountable.
The campaign to save LWCF is part of LCV’s ongoing “Our Lands, Our Voice” campaign to fight the Trump administration’s myriad attacks on public lands.