Montana Public Radio

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The huge omnibus spending bill that Congress is expected to pass this week contains a temporary reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF. The LWCF enjoys broad support in Montana. It uses government revenue from offshore oil and gas leases to buy conservation easements and expand public land and access to public land across the country.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund which uses fees paid by offshore oil and gas drilling companies for conservation programs, has suffered a significant defeat in Congress.

Sen. Tester urges the crowd to advocate for LWCF funding at an August 24, 2015 rally in Missoula, MT.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

About 60 people rallied in Missoula's McCormick Park Monday afternoon to urge Congressional support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

A powerful Senate committee Thursday increased funding for a public lands access program, but Montana's senators disagreed on the amount.

A new report released by a broad array of Montana conservation, timber and recreation groups details the economic and conservation benefits of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Montana’s new Senator, Republican Steve Daines, is asking Montanans for their input on how to better manage public lands in the state, but some conservation groups are wondering if he really wants to hear from them.

Rick Potts, who’s on the Montana Wilderness Association’s state council, is troubled by some recent Daines votes.

"I know my colleagues in the Montana Wilderness Association and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers as well, feel like they’ve been sucker punched. They didn’t see this coming."

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