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Greenville Business Magazine

Congress Votes To Reauthorize The Land And Water Conservation Fund

Feb 28, 2019 12:08PM ● By Kathleen Maris

The U.S. House recently passed the largest public lands package in a decade, including a measure that permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, with broad bipartisan support.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has had an enormous influence on our communities and quality of life. On any given day, you can see folks kayaking, fishing, picnicking, listening to live music, or even just going for a walk in parks that help define our communities," said John Tynan, executive director of conservation voters of South Carolina. "We are grateful that Congress voted to permanently reauthorize this crucial program so our residents continue to enjoy the health, wellness, and community benefits of our cherished public spaces.”

The package passed with enormous bipartisan support, with a 92-8 vote in the Senate and a 363-62 vote in the House.

“I am grateful to join with so many of my colleagues today to support the Natural Resources Management Act,” said Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C. “This measure permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conversation Fund and provides protections to millions of acres of federal lands. The broad bipartisan support for this bill shows that our public places are about people, not politics.”

Congressman Wilson was one of several legislators who worked with CVSC to ask Congress to reauthorize the LWCF. In October 2018, Wilson joined CVSC for a press conference and a kayak tour of LWCF supported parks and river access on the Saluda River near Columbia, S.C.

Congressman Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., took the helm after Mark Sanford left office, but kept the momentum of his predecessor. 

“I’m proud to champion the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enriches countless lives in the Lowcountry by investing in local parks, trails, public lands, and outdoors spaces,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “LWCF is the gold standard of conservation programs and has invested more than $294 million in South Carolina to protect its recreation areas and open spaces since 1965. While I believe this important, bipartisan program should never have been allowed to expire, I’m proud we could come together now to ensure future generations enjoy unfettered access to our great outdoors.”

The bill now goes to the President’s desk. Since its expiration September 30, 2018, communities across the state have lost out on more than $365 million for public space projects.