Sending Office: Honorable Garret Graves
Later today, the House is scheduled to consider S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act, under suspension of the rules. While suspensions are historically reserved for non-controversial legislation, S. 47 does not fit that description. This 700-page
bill was considered by the Senate earlier this month where amendments were offered and accepted. However the House is not being afforded the same opportunity.
The bill permanently authorizes $9 billion per decade for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to acquire new federal and state lands. While I support the conservation and protection of sensitive and important lands, the bill does nothing to address
the estimated $17 billion maintenance backlog on our existing federal lands inventory. Designating millions of acres of new wilderness, conservation and recreational lands without a plan to responsibly manage and maintain them is reckless. Permanent authorization
of tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer funds for the LWCF without needed reforms is flawed policy.
This legislation will impact millions of acres of land in the United States through mineral withdrawals, wilderness designations, national monument designations, adding hundreds of miles of wild and scenic rivers and thousands of miles of trails. Despite
many improvements to recreational opportunities for average Americans included in the bill, its flaws outweigh the benefits.
S. 47 also funds the LWCF with billions of dollars in revenues from offshore energy production. But ironically, it completely ignores the protection and conservation needs of the coastal areas that provide that funding. Diverting these funds destabilizes
these already fragile ecosystems and contradicts the LWCF’s own mission.
I urge opposition to S. 47 and request that the House engage on the largest natural resources legislation this decade. Each of us cannot abdicate our responsibilities as the representatives of our districts and should be allowed to make amendments to ensure
a long-term sustainable conservation of our federal lands and waters.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0