Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Update

(Feb. 26, 2019) Denver, Colo. – The Land and Water Conservation Fund is now one step closer to being permanently re-authorized. With a vote of 363 to 62, the US House of Representatives passed the Natural Resources Management Act today, sending the historic package of bills to the President’s desk.

“Today the House of Representatives put public lands over politics and passed this important legislation. On behalf of Colorado Trout Unlimited’s 11,000 members, I want to thank Representatives DeGette, Neguse, Tipton, Crow, Lamborn and Perlmutter for voting to support conservation. We deeply appreciate their commitment to investing in Colorado’s public lands and outdoor recreation,” said David Nickum, Executive Director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. “This vote comes on the heels of Senators Gardner and Bennet helping shepherd the bill through the Senate, reflecting the broad, bi-partisan support for conservation in Colorado.”

For more than half a century, LWCF has used a portion of federal offshore energy revenues — at no cost to taxpayers — to conserve our public lands, water, and open spaces and protect the outdoor recreation opportunities they offer. LWCF has invested over $268 million in Colorado, helping to secure access and conserve special places across the state, including the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and boat launches on the Colorado River.

Also included in the package were numerous provisions protecting public lands with important fish and wildlife habitat, including mineral withdrawals in Washington’s Methow Valley and the upper Yellowstone in Montana, a special designation to conserve wild steelhead habitat in Oregon’s North Umpqua watershed, new Wilderness in Oregon and New Mexico, Wild and Scenic River designations in Oregon and California, and a unique collaborative plan to protect water quality and quantity in Washington’s Yakima Basin. Significant to Colorado, the act extends the authorization of the Upper Colorado Endangered Fish Recovery Implementation Program, a partnership between local, state and federal agencies, water and power interests, and conservation groups working to recover endangered fish in the Upper Colorado River Basin.

“Passing this package of bills is a huge win for sportsmen and women,” said Scott Willoughby, Colorado Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “Anglers and hunters know first-hand what it means to be connected to place and to the fish and wildlife that make a place special. The work isn’t over, and we look forward to working with Colorado’s delegation to secure dedicated funding for LWCF, but I think all sportsmen and women can take a moment today and celebrate such an achievement as the reauthorization of LWCF and protection for hundreds of thousands of acres of special places across the country.”

Editor’s note:  The bill was signed into law by President Trump on March 12, 2019.

Courtesy CTU

 

Tell Your Senator: Ensure that New Mines Protect Water Quality

Ask Them: Vote Yes on HB-1113

The Colorado Senate will soon be taking up legislation to ensure that new mining activities in Colorado operate so as to protect our state’s water quality. While mining is and will remain an important part of Colorado’s local economies, it should take place in a manner that also protects our waters and the multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation economy that they sustain. HB-1113 would help ensure that balance. The bill passed the House earlier this month, and is now on its way to the Senate for action and you can help by asking your Senator to vote “yes”.

The legislation would do three main things:

Protect rivers by ensuring that bonding on new mines includes the cost for needed reclamation to address water quality protection, not just restoring impacted land.

Protect taxpayers by eliminating self-bonding for hardrock mines. Under the bill, companies will no longer be able to simply make a promise to pay for cleanup after they close, but will instead have to back up their promise with financial resources or insurance policies.

Protect water quality by disallowing new mines that are designed with the expectation that they will become permanent sources of water pollution. Instead, new mines would need to avoid creating perpetual water pollution.

Our State Senator is Larry Crowder, who can be reached by calling 303-866-4875.

Editor’s note:  This item first appeared in February’s newsletter.  As of 3/18/2019, the House is considering Senate amendments to the bill, so you are still encouraged to call Mr. Crowder to encourage his support of the bill.

Courtesy CTU