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Congressman Lance urges reauthorization of federal land preservation funding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/ 08/03/16
CLINTON TWP. - Surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Spruce Run Recreation Area, Congressman Leonard Lance today urged the permanent reauthorization of a federal program that has enabled the acquisition and development of over 75,000 acres of open spaces and recreation areas in New Jersey.
Tom Wells, Alison Mitchell, Leonard Lance, Julia Somers
Spruce Run is among New Jersey's many special places preserved through the Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a 51-year-old program financed entirely by revenues from offshore oil and gas leases, not tax dollars.
The LWCF expired last fall, but Congress voted in favor of a three-year extension to allow proponents to work toward permanent reauthorization. Congressman Lance is among the leaders of that effort.
"New Jersey is called the Garden State for good reason - our treasured public lands provide recreation, economic opportunity and a healthy quality of life for our residents," said Lance. "The Land and Water Conservation Fund is dedicated to protecting our special places for hunting, fishing, water conservation and many outdoor activities."
"And right here in Hunterdon County we have helped protect and maintain public spaces like the Spruce Run Recreation Area for everyone to enjoy," the Congressman added. "Pristine public lands are a trademark of the Garden State and they must be protected and maintained for future generations."
Lance said all Americans will benefit greatly if legislation to permanently reauthorize the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund passes. Since 1965, the LWCF has invested in land preservation and recreation projects in every state and almost every county.
'Nation's Most Important Conservation Program'
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides tremendous benefits everywhere in the nation," said Alison Mitchell, polilcy director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. "It is far and away our nation's most important conservation program, and with so many natural lands yet to be preserved in New Jersey we want to see it permanently authorized."
"The LWCF touches virtually every single American and has invested billions of dollars in supporting all of our parks - from the neighborhood park down the street to our iconic national parks," said Alan Rowsome, senior director of government relations for lands at The Wilderness Society. "Congressman Lance helped ensure the LWCF will continue to protect our wild places for future generations - such as Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the Spruce Run Reservoir - and on behalf of the millions of Americans who love their public lands, we thank him for his leadership on this vital program."
Other New Jersey natural areas funded by the LWCF include Gateway National Recreation Area, Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Morristown National Historic Park, Edwin Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge.
Julia Somers, executive director of the New Jersey Highlands Coalition, said the LWCF has protected - and will continue to protect, valuable drinking water resources.
"The Rockaway River flows through some of the Highlands' most beautiful lands, and into and through some of the state's most important reservoirs, providing millions of gallons of water to urban and suburban New Jersey every day," said Somers.
"In 2017, the LWCF is posed to fund an addition to the Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area," she added. "The river's importance for the economic and public health of the state cannot be overstated, and additions to the Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area are key to protecting the future for all of us."
Congressman's Leadership Role
New Jersey conservation leaders praised Congressman Lance for his leadership in the effort to secure permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
"Since his days in the State Legislature when he was a staunch supporter of the Green Acres Program, Congressman Lance has always been a champion of open space and parks," said Tom Wells of The Nature Conservancy's New Jersey chapter. "On the federal level, he has continued that record through his efforts on behalf of the Land and Water Conservation Fund."
"We at the Trust for Public Land thank Congressman Lance for his continued support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund," said Anthony Cucchi of the Trust for Public Land. "In his support of the Fund and public lands, Congressman Lance is helping us build healthy, sustainable, and livable communities for the people of New Jersey."
"At a time when bipartisan conversations are all too uncommon in Congress, Representative Lance has demonstrated consistent support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the importance and worth of cooperation," said Land Trust Alliance President Andrew Bowman. "On behalf of the Land Trust Alliance, I thank Representative Lance for his support and look forward to our continued work to fully fund and permanently reauthorize LWCF."
For more information about the Land and Water Conservation Fund, visit www.lwcfcoalition.org.
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