With broad bipartisan support, the House of Representatives Tuesday voted to pass the Natural Resources Management Act, which will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The fund is financed through revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments and helps protect parks, trails, wildlife refuges and recreation areas in all 50 states.
According to Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who supported the bill, the fund has supported over 90 projects in Suffolk County alone.
“On Long Island, our coastal economy is a vital component of our overall economy, and clean water, land and air are essential priorities all protected by the LWCF,” Mr. Zeldin said in a news release Wednesday.
Congress created the fund in 1964 with the idea of taking revenues from the depletion of one natural resource to preserve another. According to the LWCF Coalition, $900 million in royalties are paid by energy companies who drill on the Outer Continental Shelf to the fund each year.
It has helped fund National Parks including Rocky Mountain and the Grand Canyon, national forests and community parks, trails and ball fields.
Since its creation, Suffolk County has received $24 million in funding, according to Mr. Zeldin.
Locally, Mr. Zeldin said, the fund supports “public access, fishing, hunting, recreation and our environment without taking a dime of taxpayer money.” Such projects include the South Jamesport Boat Launch, Wildwood State Park beach building in Wading River, shoreline protection at Orient State Park and the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley.
Funding for the LWCF expired at the end of September 2018.
“I’ve been proud to help lead the fight to permanently reauthorize this important fund in the House … this is a huge win for our community and communities across the country,” he said.
The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.