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In 2015, Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars allowed the Bureau of Land Management to protect 160 acres of riparian habitat along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in Idaho.
BLMIdaho / CC Flickr – a Commons image.

Don’t let politicians kill conservation’s bank account

by Ben Long

If Congress doesn’t act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund will end on Sept. 30.

Ben Long is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. He writes in Kalispell, Montana, where he is senior program director for Resource Media.”

A handful of our representatives in Congress are quietly preparing a multibillion-dollar rip-off of American families.

Count yourself among the cheated if you value kids’ sports, good health and the Great Outdoors. If Congress does nothing — and Congress is very good at doing nothing — it will quietly smother the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The conservation fund has been one of the most successful programs for decades; it has preserved beloved landscapes and made lives healthier and happier across America. It has worked wonders for 50 years without costing taxpayers a cent.

Who would want to kill it?

His name is Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, and he is the powerful chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. His committee has jurisdiction over the fund, since it involves taking royalties from offshore oil drilling and distributing them toward outdoor access, wildlife habitat and urban parks and recreation projects.

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