WASHINGTON – March 9, 2012 – After months working side by side with legislators, Ducks Unlimited applauded the Senate's passage of an amendment that could impact not only restoration efforts along the oil-spill-stricken Gulf Coast, but also expand funding for land conservation nationwide.
The Nelson-Landrieu-Shelby RESTORE Amendment (SA 1822) was approved yesterday as an addition to the Senate Transportation Bill (S. 1813), with a vote of 76-22. The amendment will ensure that Clean Water Act penalties collected from those responsible for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration. The amendment also contains a two-year funding plan for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) of $700 million per year and the reauthorization of LWCF through 2022. The Senate and House of Representatives must now pass the transportation bill to carry the amendment forward.
"We applaud yesterday's Senate action to recognize the importance of oil spill fines reaching the natural resources that received the brunt of the damages," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "We are also delighted that the Senate has significantly increased funding levels for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is critical to natural resource conservation. We certainly hope the House of Representatives will agree with these Senate proposals."
LWCF provides matching grants to states and local governments to acquire and develop public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. It also funds shared federal land acquisition and the development of conservation strategy. The program has helped conserve some of America's best fish and wildlife habitat and most popular sporting destinations. This boost in funding for the program is unprecedented in recent times.
"DU's more than 1 million supporters are just part of the larger group of sportsmen and women in America who will benefit from the increased funding and reauthorization of the LWCF program," Hall said. "LWCF provides public access to prime hunting and fishing areas, as well as protecting waterfowl nesting sites in the Prairie Pothole Region, DU's most significant conservation priority area. Working to protect LWCF and its reach has been a major focus of our public policy staff in Washington and across the country."
With the RESTORE Act and LWCF funding and reauthorization added to the Senate Transportation Bill, Ducks Unlimited will continue to gather support from members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to ensure this larger package is enacted in the coming weeks.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres, thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.