Flathead Beacon: Montana Congressional Delegation, Governor Urge LWCF Reauthorization

With the deadline looming for one of Montana’s most instrumental federal funding tools, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines and Gov. Steve Bullock say reauthorizing the measure is vital to maintaining the region’s public lands.

On Sept. 30, the half-century old Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will expire unless Congress votes to reauthorize a program that has provided $16 billion for conservation projects, including about $500 million in Montana, making the money available for matching grants to buy fish and wildlife habitat and increase access for recreation like hunting and fishing.

Both Tester and Daines have voiced strong support for permanently reauthorizing LWCF, but it must happen quickly once Congress returns to the hill after the Labor Day holiday.

Tester said he wants to see LWCF reauthorized at the $900 million level that Congress set in 1978, but that’s only happened twice since the cap was set.

“We’re running out of time. The clock is ticking and when it runs out in September all these projects are going to stop,” Tester said. “My goal is to make sure we get $900 million in spendable dollars for conservation in Montana.”