Rep. Sheehy Travels To DC Fighting For Reauthorization Of Land And Water Conservation Fund

For article go HERE

State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) joined Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public Lands, a nonpartisan delegation of military veteran lawmakers, from across the nation in travelling to Washington DC last Thursday to urge Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), America’s long-standing conservation and recreation program.

“Joining this dedicated coalition of public servants in our nation’s capital has left me overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of our land and water,” said Sheehy. “Even at a time when division reigns over unity, Republicans and Democrats can still come together for the preservation of our history and our legacy.”

Since 1964, LWCF has helped preserve 41,000 state and local parks in every corner of the United States. The LWCF works to conserve national parks and forests, land by rivers, lakes and oceans, working forests, farms and ranches, fish and wildlife refuges and trails. Ohio has received approximately $333 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Wayne National Forest, James Garfield National Historic Site and numerous other landscapes.

All this has been done at no cost to taxpayers as the program is entirely funded through royalties collected on offshore drilling. Unless Congress takes immediate action, the LWCF will expire on September 30.

While on Capitol Hill, Sheehy shared his concerns with members of Congress including:

    • Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
    • Sen. Rob Portman (OH)
    • Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
    • Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM)
    • Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR)

Prior to the trip, Sheehy joined dozens of other elected officials who sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging him to protect the LWCF. Although Secretary Zinke has stated that he supports the LWCF, President Trump’s proposed budget slashed its funding by 95%.

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Veterans who are lawmakers see results of Capitol Hill meetings as Conservation Fund set to be permanently funded

EOPA Veterans who are lawmakers see results of Capitol Hill meetings as Land and Water Conservation Fund set to be permanently funded

Members of the Elected Officials to Protect America's Lands met with Sen. Rob Wyden, and other US Senators, on Sept 6th on Capitol Hill to urge the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Sen Wyden, and all the US Senators they met met with want the LWCF fully funded. From left to right in the back: State Sen. Rick Kolowski (NE), Asm. Felix Ortiz (NY) US Senator Rob Wyden, State Rep. Paul Evans, Former State Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, (ME) Delegate Pat Young (MD). In the front: State Rep. Debbie Sarinana,(NM) and Rep. Michael Sheehy (OH).

Photos and Article By Ramona du Houx in Maine Insights

According to Politico, the top Republican and Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee have struck a deal to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Among other provisions, the deal ensures that at least 40 percent of the fund goes toward state programs and another 40 percent at least goes toward federal ones.

“The apparent Permanente resolution of the LWCF budget is a critical step in fostering both better stewardship of our natural spaces and an important symbol: Veterans can play a helpful role in facilitating good policy,” said State Representative Paul Evans of Oregon. “It’s our job to stand up, as veterans, and make sure government works for everyone. I went to D.C. because we have to make sure sustainability and stewardship are national priorities. Our natural spaces are at least as important, in terms of national security, as our oil.”

Just a week ago on September 6, 2018, Evans met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), America’s most important conservation and recreation program. 

Evans came to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation of elected officials from across the country, all of whom are U.S. military veterans. Members of the delegation are part of Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public Lands, a nonpartisan group of veterans serving in elected office.

Prior to the trip, Evans joined 78 other elected officials who are veterans and sent to a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging him to do everything in his power to protect the LWCF.

The elected officials met with the following Members of Congress:

  • Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM)
  • Sen. Tom Udall (NM)
  • Sen. Angus King (ME)
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4)
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Sen. Rob Portman (OH)

In the back: Delegate Pat Young (MD), Sen. Rick Kolowski (NE), Asm. Felix Ortiz (NY) In the front Rep. Michael Sheeh (OH), Rep. Debbie Sarinana (NM) and Rep. Paul Evans as they march to Capitol Hill to meet with US Senators about reauthorizing the LWCF.

Since 1964, LWCF has touched every state, conserving national parks and forests, land by rivers, lakes and oceans, working forests, farms and ranches, fish and wildlife refuges, trails, and more than 41,000 state and local parks in every corner of the United States. All this has been done at no cost to taxpayers as the program is entirely funded through royalties collected on offshore drilling.

 Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Raúl Grijalva's (D-Ariz.) agreement, with support from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), would extend the life of the conservation program that expires Sept. 30th and might also pave the way for the Senate to more quickly pass a broad water infrastructure package.

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LWCF could be permanently funded

A week after our delegation of six lawmakers (photo above) who are elected officials met with six senators on Capitol Hill the Land and Water Conservation Fund could be permanently reauthorized.

From POLITICO 
Bishop, Grijalva reach deal to permanently reauthorize LWCF

By Anthony Adragna

09/13/2018 10:21 AM EDT

The top Republican and Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee have struck a deal to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, according to a senior aide.

Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and Raúl Grijalva's (D-Ariz.) agreement, struck with support from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), would extend the life of the popular conservation program that expires Sept. 30 and could also pave the way for the Senate to more quickly pass a broad water infrastructure package, S. 3021 (115) . Burr has been holding that bill up in hopes of reaching a solution on LWCF.

"My reservations about the program have never been about the goals of LWCF, rather, I've been frustrated that the implementation of the program fell short of the law's intended purpose," Bishop said in a statement. "This bill, along with additional action we took today, ensures that Congress adequately funds the lands it already owns and realigns the fund back to its original goal."

Among other provisions, the deal ensures that at least 40 percent of the fund goes toward state programs and another 40 percent at least goes toward federal ones.

The committee plans to mark up the agreement at a markup at 10:45 a.m.

To view online:
https://subscriber.politicopro.com/energy/whiteboard/2018/09/bishop-grijalva-reach-deal-to-permanently-reauthorize-lwcf-1913608

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Elected Officials Go To Capitol Hill to Urge Reauthorization of Land and Water Conservation Fund

(Washington, D.C.) -- Last week, Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public Lands sent a delegation of state lawmakers from across the country, all of whom are U.S. military veterans, to Capitol Hill to urge Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), America’s most important conservation and recreation program.

LWCF grants have contributed to infrastructure developments and conservation measures that protect and enhance America’s national parks, national forests, monuments, wildlife refuges, and over 40,000 state and local park projects across the nation. LWCF is set to expire on September 30, 2018.

The delegation of members from Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public included:

In the back row: Delegate Pat Young, Maryland, Marines, Rep. Paul Evans, Oregon, Air Force/National Guard, Sen. Rick Kolowski, Nebraska, Marine

In the front row: Rep. Debbie Marie Sarinana, New Mexico, Air Force, Assembly Member Félix Ortiz, New York, Army, Rep. Michael Sheehy, Ohio, Army

These elected officials met with the following Members of Congress:

  • Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR)
  • Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM)
  • Sen. Tom Udall (NM)
  • Sen. Angus King (ME)
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4)

They also met with staffers from these congressional offices:

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY)
  • Sen. Rob Portman (OH)

EOPA elected officials with Sen. Wyden - the tallest man in the center of the photo

Ahead of meetings on September 6, Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public Lands sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke urging him to do everything in his power to protect the LWCF. An elected official from every state in the nation signed the letter which was displayed on a Washington Post Capitol Hill Wrap on Thursday morning.

As of September 11th, 79 elected officials who are also veterans have signed the letter to Sec. Zinke online.

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Elected officials, part EOPA, hit the Hill in Washington D.C. today

This ran in Politico on September 7, 2018

FLYING IN: A delegation of elected officials, who are part of the “Elected Officials to Protect America’s Public Lands” and who are U.S. military veterans, will hit the Hill today to urge lawmakers to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Sens. Ron Wyden, Rob Portman, Merkley, and Martin Heinrich, as well as Rep. Peter DeFazio, are among the lawmakers the state and local officials will meet with today.

 In the front row Del. Pat Young (MD), Rep. Debbie Sarinana (NM) Asm. Felix Ortiz (NY) and Rep. Michael Sheey (OH) with, Rep. Paul Evans (OR) and Sen. Rick Kolowaski (NE) (In the back row) came to D.C. to talk with their State Delegations about how important the Land & Water Conservation Fund is for the people of their state and how important public lands are for veterans and the health and well being of all Americans. Thank you all for defending and protecting US!

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We need to protect our cultural heritage — our public lands

By State Representative Robert Alley, Special to the BDN • September 4, 2018 1:40 pm

At a time when Gov. Paul LePage’s Department of Environmental Protection is sending out ozone alerts warning of serious health risks to Maine residents simply trying to breathe, it is also proposing to pull Maine out of a key regional interstate program that has helped reduce smog and ozone — especially for downwind states such as ours, which bear the brunt of the serious health impacts.

 

From lobster fishing to hunting game in our wilderness, we know our way of life depends upon the health of our ecosystems. Protecting our coast protects our cultural heritage and a way of life we can’t afford to lose. With temperatures on the rise, our fishing industries are at risk. Scientists have found that our lobsters are slowly moving north because of the increase in the ocean’s temperature, and ocean acidification is damaging their shells.

 

But instead of protecting our natural resources, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to drill for oil off our coast.

 

If we don’t stand behind our natural resources, we risk losing them forever. That’s why I recently signed a letter with other lawmakers who are veterans in support of the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

 

Since its establishment by Congress in 1964, the conservation fund has been a bipartisan commitment that safeguards our natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage. It draws on funds from offshore oil and gas royalties, not taxpayers.

 

In order for us to protect our natural resources, we all must work together. Veterans don’t distinguish each other by our political affiliations; we all stand by and with our Constitution. That’s why I’m proud to stand with more than 77 bipartisan veterans who are lawmakers in support of the conservation fund.

 

All Americans need clean air and water.

 

The conservation fund has provided both recreational opportunities to all Americans and a source of revenue for states and local governments. For more than 40 years, the fund has provided more than $3.9 billion in grant funding for projects in just about every county in the country.

 

In Washington County, more than $175,000 was granted to acquire land along the St. Croix River for conservation. Additional grants have been used to expand Quoddy Head, develop Baileyville municipal park and develop a boat access at Gleason Point in Perry. The list goes on and on. More than $27 million has been invested in Maine in all counties and the Unorganized Territory since 1968. More than $8.5 million has been granted to the state since 2002 alone. You’ve probably been to a park, nature reserve, beauty spot or veterans memorial that has been funded with Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.

 

A Bureau of Economic Analysis study found that the outdoor recreation economy was growing at a rate of 3.8 percent — faster than the overall U.S. economy. Outdoor recreation contributes $887 billion to the economy and supports 7.6 million jobs across America. Every $1 dispersed from the Land and Water Conservation Fund results in a return of $4.

 

Our 47,000-acre Acadia National Park, which has unsurpassed woodlands, rocky beaches and glacier-scoured granite peaks, needs constant upkeep. The conservation fund supports all our national parks and monuments.

 

But now the fund is in jeopardy of not being reauthorized. The U.S. Senate recently voted to pass the needed legislation, HR 6147, which now awaits a signature or veto from the president. While Zinke has publicly expressed his support for the fund, he has also proposed a 95 percent cut to the fund’s budget.

 

Congress needs to reauthorize the fund by Sept. 30. Our national parks, forests, monuments, wildlife refuges and state projects are in jeopardy of being lost. We believe a strong showing of bipartisan support from state lawmakers, who are also veterans, can help secure the support of Zinke, who is also a veteran, for reauthorizing the fund and thereby that of Congress.

 

My military brothers and sisters have banded together as lawmakers to stand with our country and defend our public lands. We can’t afford to lose our cultural heritage — our public lands.

 

Robert Alley, a Democrat, represents House District 138. He serves on the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources Committees.

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New Ways to Protect Our Public Lands

New ways to defend public lands

Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a bipartisan commitment to our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage. That’s why I’ve joined a national coalition of 45 elected U.S. Military veterans standing up for the fund against attacks on American public lands.

The LWCF has a proven record of accomplishment as one of our most successful conservation programs, drawing on funds from offshore oil and gas royalties — not taxpayers — to develop and preserve natural ecosystems. However, LWCF is set to expire September 30 without a reauthorization from Congress. The U.S. Senate has not yet come to a final decision, and while Secretary Zinke has offered a few statements of support for the fund, he has also proposed cutting it by 95 percent.

That’s 95 percent of funding that will disappear from familiar public spaces like Promenade Park and the Maumee Riverfront; that’s 95 percent of funding to build wetlands and biodiverse habitats to filter out nutrient pollution draining into Lake Erie; that’s 95 percent of funding to protect land set aside for tourism, American History and education.

In Columbus, I represent Lucas County’s 46th House District, where respect for the land and its blessings is a virtue. I introduced House Bill (HB) 460 to relieve the property tax burden on farmers who volunteer their land for the development of healthy, natural life along Ohio waterways. I also worked with both agriculture and environmental groups to develop HB 655, establishing enforceable limits on unsafe nutrient pollution.

However, the people of northwest Ohio still need the support of the U.S. Government to protect our precious natural resources. If Congress and Secretary Zinke cannot find the value in protecting the healthy, natural ecosystems set aside for all Americans to enjoy, Americans will not see the value in keeping them in office.

My military brothers and sisters have banded together as lawmakers to defend the heritage passed down within these monuments as America’s natural blessings. I’m proud to stand with them and urge Congress to do the same.

Michael P. Sheehy, a U.S. Army veteran and University of Toledo graduate, is a state representative from Oregon, Ohio, and a former railroad worker of 40 years.

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To Secretary Zinke, help veterans who are lawmakers reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund

Op-ed by Washington State Senator John McCoy

As I write, we find ourselves in another “fire season.” This wasn’t always the case in our beloved state of Washington. Now, tragically too many communities are at risk of being torn apart by flames every year. I only hope no one is harmed. I’m thankful for our first responders for the tremendous job they do protecting us. But every year when we don’t have a substantial snowmelt we know what to expect. The scientific facts show our planet is heating up. We must do everything within our power to protect our natural wonders for future generations, and that takes a bipartisan effort.

Knowing that we are all in this together makes it easier to find common ground to make positive changes for everyone in our state. In my culture, leaders are often seen as peacemakers, not as dividers. I’m a Democrat, who worked in the White House during the Reagan years. Working together is how our democracy works best.

When given the opportunity to defend a citizens' clean energy initiative - 937 - from major rollbacks I embraced the challenge because I knew we would be successful if everyone worked together to reach a compromise, and we did.

If we don’t protect our natural resources, we risk losing them forever. That’s why I recently signed a letter with other lawmakers who are veterans, in support of the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Veterans don’t distinguish each other by what political party we are affiliated with, we all stand by and with our Constitution. That’s why I’m proud to stand with over 45 bipartisan veterans who are lawmakers in support of the LWCF. Since its establishment by Congress in 1964, the LWCF has been a bipartisan commitment that safeguards our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage.

My culture holds a deep respect for nature. The cedar is our “tree of life” because we use every part of one if we cut it down, from making baskets to totems. Honoring nature has sustained our communities and way of life. Serving on the Environmental Committee I’ve worked to protect our cherished natural wonders.

Salmon is intrinsic to our culture. When it flourishes so does our environment. It’s sustained future is in everyone’s interest. Unfortunately commercial fishing, waterway contamination, habitat destruction, net-pen farming, and road culverts restrict fish habitats. I’m proud we recently passed legislation working across the aisle to phase our net-pen farming by 2025.

The LWCF has been a source of revenue for states and local governments, funding projects to protect habitats like many on the Snohomish River as well as helping to establish recreation areas and parks like Langus Riverfront Park.

Over the past 40-plus years, the LWCF program has provided more than $3.9 billion in grants funding projects in just about every county in the country. LWCF has provided funds for riverside development and upkeep. Sacagawea Heritage Trail, the Salt Creek County Park Renovation, Issaquah Creek/Lake Sammamish Waterways Acquisition, as well as the University Place Kobayashi Preserve have all been received grants from LWCF. The list goes on and on.

We enjoy kayaking, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, and just being able to relax in parks supported by LWCF funds. Over $12 million has been allocated to Washington State from the LWCF just since 2000. You’ve probably been to a park, nature reserve, beauty spot or veterans’ memorial that has been funded with LWCF grants.

A Bureau of Economic Analysis study found that the outdoor recreation economy was growing at 3.8 percent. Outdoor recreation contributes $887 billion and supports 7.6 million jobs across America. Every $1 of LWCF funds invested results in a return of $4 in economic value.

On the national stage generations of Americans have visited National parks. For many, these trips are annual pilgrimages connecting families with our country’s roots while creating lasting memories. Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades National Parks are assisted by LWCF funding. Our land is intrinsic to who we are as a people.

The LWCF is one of our most successful conservation programs because it draws on funds from offshore oil and gas royalties, not taxpayers, to expand, develop, and improve public lands for recreational areas, conservation, and the preservation of natural ecosystems.

But now the LCWF is in jeopardy of not being reauthorized even though the U.S. House of Representatives, passed H.R.6147 - Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act, of 2019, which provides some support for the LWCF. The problem is that the U.S. Senate has not completed its review of the legislation, and while Secretary Zinke has publically expressed his support for the fund, he has also proposed a 95 percent cut to the fund's budget.

LWCF needs reauthorization by Congress by September 30th. That’s why our bipartisan letter is to Secretary Zinke. We believe a strong showing of bipartisan support from state lawmakers, who are also veterans, can help secure Secretary Zinke's support for reauthorization of the LWCF and thereby that of Congress.

My military brothers and sisters have banded together as lawmakers to stand with our country defending our public lands. We see this as a bipartisan issue. As the saying goes—if you don’t stand for something—you’ll fall for anything. We can’t afford to lose our cultural heritage, our public lands, by falling for false promises.

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