Historic Conservation Funding Bill Passes Major Landmark in US Senate

(Excerpts taken from the news release by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies which was forwarded by Rupert Cutler.)

WASHINGTON, DC - The bipartisan Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA, H.R. 701) passed a major milestone on July 25, 2000 when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-7 to report this historic conservation legislation to the full Senate for consideration. This landmark legislation would provide the largest infusion of federal conservation funds in history, $40 billion over the next 15 years, most of which will go to various state and local conservation programs.

CARA provides significant funding for America’s natural treasures: its wildlife, parks, coasts, forests, and wetlands. The bill dedicates revenue from offshore oil and gas leases to a broad range of conservation activities, including wildlife, land and water restoration, historic preservation, outdoor recreation, and conservation education. The House of Representative passed similar legislation in May 2000 by a strong bipartisan vote of 315-102.

The Senate’s bipartisan compromise version of CARA, crafted by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Frank Murkowski (R-AK)and Ranking Democrat, Jeff Bingaman (NM), represents a strong and balanced approach that will protect wildlife, coastal areas, recreation and historic sites at the national, state, and local levels. Over 52 Senators are now cosponsoring CARA or related legislation that would reinvest federal outer continental shelf oil and gas revenue into conservation indicating the growing support for CARA. In addition, all 50 governors have voiced support for these bills or their concepts and have worked to move this legislation through Congress.

Funding in the bill:

$805 million – State Coastal Impact Assistance and Stewardship (Title I)

$900 million – Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) (state and federal formula) (Title II)

$350 million – State-Level Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Fund (Title III)

$75 million – Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Fund (Title IV)

$50 million – Urban and Community Forestry Fund

$150 million – Historic Preservation Fund (state and local grants) and Battlefield Protection Program (Title V)

$125 million – National Park Service and Indian Land Restoration Programs (Title VI)

$100 million – Conservation Easements to Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and Forest Legacy Program (Title VII)

$50 million – Rural Development Program and Rural Community Assistance Program

$60 million – Youth Conservation Corps

$325 million – Payment In-Lieu of Taxes (PILT)

For additional information on the Conservation and Reinvestment Act, visit http://www.teaming.com/, http://energy.senate.gov, http://www.house.gov/resources/ocs.