New Parks Bill Adds Momentum to Federal Conservation Funding Debate

A Real Opportunity for Congress to Make Concrete Progress This Year to Fully Fund Our Nation’s Land, Water, and Wildlife

Today, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona), along with dozens of co-sponsors from both parties, introduced the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.  The bill would dedicate a portion of existing federal energy revenue to fund maintenance needs on national parks and other public lands managed by the Department of Interior.  Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte is a cosponsor of the bill.

Dave Chadwick, executive director of the Montana Wildlife Federation made the following statement:

“At a time when our political system is so polarized, conservation is one thing that can still bring Republicans and Democrats together.  This bill joins the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in advancing the common-sense idea that a portion of existing federal revenue should be dedicated to protecting our natural heritage.”

“This bill shows that there’s a real opportunity for Congress to make concrete progress this year to fully fund our nation’s land, water, and wildlife, which will be good for Montanans and all Americans.”

Collin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said:
“America’s public lands and wildlife are inextricably linked — and require dedicated funding to conserve and protect them. Congressmen Bishop and Grijalva deserve great credit for putting forward a maintenance solution for public lands infrastructure, but any compromise should also include funding for wildlife habitat, as proposed in the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 4647).”

Created in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is funded by a portion of offshore energy revenue.  The program has protected many of Montana’s most important places, even though much of the funding is diverted by Congress every year to cover other government spending.  Pending legislation would reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and provide permanent, automatic funding for the program.

Alongside the LWCF, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act was introduced in 2018 to provide funding from existing federal energy revenue to state fish and wildlife agencies in order to conserve at-risk species and prevent Endangered Species Act listings.

Contact: Dave Chadwick, 406-438-6478, dchadwick@mtwf.org