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Fiscal Year 2014 Budget Proposal Draws Praise

Thursday, April 11, 2013 8:49 PM | Rick Shields (Administrator)
The National Wildlife Refuge Association has released a statement praising the funding level for the refuge system in President Obama's proposed 2014 budget.  The budget request $499 million  for the Refuge System's Operations and Maintenance accounts, as well as outlining a path to full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  LWCF is a powerful land acquisition tool for adding important habitat to the Refuge System.

Three key points about the LWCF:
  1. LWCF is already paid for – without using a single taxpayer dollar. Every year, $900 million is deposited into LWCF from the many billions of dollars the Treasury collects from offshore oil drilling and other federal energy revenue sources. Congress created LWCF with a simple idea in mind: when we sell oil and gas that belongs to all Americans, at least a small portion of the proceeds should be reinvested in something of lasting value for us all.  NO tax  dollars or other general revenues are used for LWCF!
  2. The Senate LWCF Provision Funds Only Willing-Seller Conservation.
    The Senate language guarantees that any land purchase under the bill  – as is typically the case for LWCF purchases – will be from willing sellers. Across America, many landowners needing to sell their properties want to see those lands conserved for public use. Providing LWCF funds honors their property rights as willing sellers, including their rights to fair compensation, and their public-spirited intent as landowners. The Senate language explicitly ensures that property rights will be respected and that landowners will be treated fairly.  Property condemnation and eminent domain are not allowed.
  3. LWCF funds have not be utilized- For the nearly 50 years the fund has been in existence, almost never has more than 1/3 of the money collected in a given year been used for its authorized purposes.  This proposal will help to correct that misappropriation.
Of course, this is a PROPOSED budget, and no one can predict what will happen to these funds in what promises to be a very contentious battle in the Congress beginning next month.

Here is the entire press release from NWRA.

Here is a list of land acquisition under the proposed 2014 budget
Sorry, none of our seven refuges are on the list!

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