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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Latino Sustainability Institute: Cuts to Land and Water Conservation Fund Disastrous for Preserving New Mexico's Land and Water Heritage

The following is a statement from Arturo Sandoval, Executive Director of the New Mexico-based Latino Sustainability Institute, on the steep cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives Interior-Environment Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012:

“Some of the leaders in the House of Representatives are putting politics and their anti-conservation agenda ahead of the best interests of the people of New Mexico. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has not only preserved thousands of acres of public lands for recreation, it has also funded the protection of vital watersheds in New Mexico, including the Rio Grande and Chama Wild and Scenic Rivers as well as lands on all five of the National Forests located in New Mexico.

“Protecting vital water resources and preserving New Mexico's cultural heritage go hand in hand. By cutting the Land and Water Conservation Fund, we are threatening that heritage and the legacy of generations of Northern New Mexicans who acted as good stewards of these precious and rare natural resources.”

“The Latino Sustainability Institute greatly appreciates the strong advocacy of Representatives Heinrich and Lujan as well as Senators Bingaman and Udall for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We urge Congressman Pearce to also work to ensure the Land and Water Conservation Fund is well funded so that we may pass on to future New Mexicans a land and water legacy that we can be proud of.”

Here is some background information and a one-pager (pdf) on what the Land and Water Conservation Fund means to New Mexico:

  • The proposed level of funding for the LWCF proposed in House FY2012 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill is $65.8 million, nearly 80 percent below the enacted level of $301 million for FY2011.
  • This week on the House floor, amendments passed by voice vote added an additional $25 million to LWCF for FY2012, bringing the total to $90.8 million, still 70 percent below 2011 levels and 90 percent below the authorized level for LWCF.
  • The LWCF is not paid for by tax dollars. Rather, it is funded by fees generated from off-shore drilling. So cutting the fund only hurts efforts to preserve wild lands and build local parks, pools and recreation spaces.
  • The LWCF represent a promise made to the American people in 1964. This Congress should not betray this long-standing commitment.
  • A telephone poll of 800 likely voters conducted during the week of July 10, 2011, found that an overwhelming majority -- 88% -- of voters support continuing to deposit fees from offshore oil and gas drilling into the LWCF. In 2009, 81% of voters supported continued LWCF funding.
  • Voters from all major segments of the electorate support continued funding for LWCF, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of independents, and 83% of Republicans, as well as 95% of Latinos, 88% of whites, and 85% of African Americans.
  • The poll was undertaken jointly by two research firms, one Republican (Public Opinion Strategies) and one Democratic (Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates). The poll’s margin of error was +/- 3.46%.

July 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM in Economy, Populism, Environment, Land Issues, NM Congressional Delegation, Water Issues | Permalink


What does the fund do and where does the money go?


Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 30, 2011 2:00:52 PM


Posted by: barb | Jul 30, 2011 3:24:12 PM