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The latest Montana politics, elections and Legislature news.

Daines Urges Senate To Reauthorize Funding For Public Land Expansion

While speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Steve Daines refers to a map of part of Montana showing a checkerboard of public and private land.
While speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Steve Daines refers to a map of part of Montana showing a checkerboard of public and private land.

Montana Senator Steve Daines urged his colleagues Wednesday to quickly and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF.

LWCF uses government revenue from offshore oil and gas leases to buy conservation easements, expand public lands as well as access to those lands.

Daines pointed to a large map of checkerboarded public and private Montana land where LWCF funding is being used to expand public access and said temporary reauthorization is unacceptable.

“And you see, we’re not playing checkers here," Daines says. "This is the way the land management works, oftentimes, out west. To get the state, to get the federal government, to get a private landowner together here, it sometimes takes years. What we don’t need to have is the federal government back here - Congress - providing uncertainty.” 

LWCF briefly lapsed three years ago before Congress gave it a three-year extension.

The program expires Sunday. If the fund isn’t reauthorized by then the oil and gas drilling revenues that fund it will be diverted into the Treasury’s general fund.

That would continue until Congress reauthorizes the program.

 

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