New Mexico Elected Leaders Letter to Congress Supporting Reauthorization of LWCF

Released by: Environment New Mexico

August 18, 2015

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Harry Reid

Minority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski

Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

The Honorable Maria Cantwell

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Reid, Chairwoman Murkowski, and Ranking Member Cantwell,

We’re writing to let you know about the positive impact the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has had on communities across New Mexico and urge you to save this important program and ensure it is fully funded.

Unfortunately, without Congressional action before September 30, this important program which has invested more than $261 million in New Mexico, will sunset.

Since its creation by Congress in 1965, LWCF has benefitted New Mexico’s communities and residents through both its “state-side” and “federal-side” programs.  The federal side program has allowed for the acquisition of important lands within our national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, and forests, including critical areas within Petroglyph and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monuments; Valles Caldera National Preserve, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, Orilla Verde Recreation Area; and the Gila National Forest.

In addition to valuing the areas secured for the public enjoyment on our shared national public lands in New Mexico, LWCF’s grants made to local governments and the State are also crucially important. 

Since 1965, more than 1,000 grants—spread among every New Mexico county and totaling nearly $41 million—have been made though LWCF’s state-side program.  These grants have been matched with state and local funds to plan, construct, and enhance parks, playgrounds, trails, ball fields, pools, and other recreation facilities in communities across the state. 

Not only is LWCF actively preserving places for all our citizens to enjoy, but it is also creating thousands of jobs in construction, outdoor recreation and tourism.

LWCF is authorized to receive about $900 million annually in federal revenues from offshore oil and gas leasing.  Which means the fund does not cost taxpayers a dime. It’s a great deal for New Mexicans and all Americans.

Sadly, only twice in the last 50 years has the fund been fully used for the purpose of conservation and park building. 

That’s why, in addition to saving the LWCF from expiration, we are also asking for your support in ensuring it gets fully funded moving forward.

While we share a New Mexico perspective, LWCF has had positive impacts in all fifty states of our nation.  We appreciate your positive efforts to date regarding LWCF – especially including LWCF reauthorization in the recently introduced Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 – and hope you’ll do everything you can to ensure this program’s reauthorization and full funding.

Sincerely,

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales

Representative Deborah A. Armstrong
Representative Bealquin Bill Gomez
Representative Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales
Representative Patricia Lundstrom
Representative Javier Martinez
Representative Bill McCamley
Representative Matthew McQueen
Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero
Representative Andres Romero
Representative Patricio Ruiloba
Representative Tomás Salazar
Representative Carl Trujillo

Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard

Representative Jim Trujillo

 

Senator Jacob Candelaria
Senator Carlos Cisneros
Senator Cisco McSorley
Senator Bill O’Neill
Senator Michael Padilla
Senator Nancy Rodriguez
Senator William Soules
Senator Mimi Stewart

Senator Richard Martinez

CC:

U.S. Senator Tom Udall

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

White House Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss