About the Land and Water Conservation Fund
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is one of our nation’s most successful conservation programs. It has benefitted all 50 states, including providing funding to protect some of New Mexico’s most beautiful outdoor spaces. LWCF has helped provide access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Since 1965, New Mexico has received more than $312 million dollars from LWCF for over 1,200 projects, which has funded everything from local playground equipment and ball fields to state park visitor facilities to the acquisition of land from willing sellers to establish and add to our National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and Wildlife Refuges. LWCF is funded from offshore oil and gas drilling royalties, meaning that none of it comes from taxpayer dollars.
LWCF was created in 1964, using revenues from the depletion of one natural resource – offshore oil and gas – to support the conservation of another precious resource – our land and water. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are put into this fund.
But, Congress continues to break its own promise to the American people by diverting much of this funding to uses other than conserving our most important lands and waters. Since its creation in 1964, Congress allocated full funding for LWCF twice. This has resulted in over $22 billion dollars intended for communities across the country going instead to non-conservation projects.
On March 12th, 2019, President Trump signed legislation permanently reauthorizing LWCF. Now, we want Congress to fully fund LWCF, so that every state, including New Mexico, can have the opportunity to develop projects that sustain our land, our water, and enhance our outdoor heritage.
The LWCF Road Trip stories highlight how LWCF positively impacts the everyday lives of New Mexicans. We hope these stories inspire you to contact your members of Congress and urge them to fully fund LWCF. The LWCF Road Trip was a joint project between the Partnership for Responsible Business, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, and the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce. These organizations are dedicated to highlighting the economic benefits of protecting public spaces and public lands.