Bipartisan Environmental Bill Carries Benefits for California Local Government

Congress is considering a bill that would have significant and long-lasting benefits for California at the state and local levels.

H.R. 3195 (Van Drew – NJ) proposes permanently authorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal program that has helped to invest in public lands since 1964. The LWCF operates by investing $900 million annually in revenue collected from offshore drilling and other energy-related activity into a grant-matching program to maintain federal and state parks, enhance community enjoyment of public lands, and provide access to land-locked sections of public land.

Year after year, however, the LWCF has been used in congressional budget negotiations and its funding mechanism is routinely placed on the chopping block, with over half of its funds redirected to unrelated matters. As a result, critical land maintenance efforts are left underfunded and the financial burden is shifted to cities, counties, businesses and taxpayers.

As communities across the state continue to operate under the constant threat of wildfires, exacerbated by a lack of funding for land maintenance, a growing and diverse coalition is emerging in support of the LWCF. Here are some recent op-eds from interested parties in San Diego and the Inland Empire.