On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., called on Congress to move quickly to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired at the end of summer.
“This important government program provides states, counties and local governments with critical funding to protect and preserve national parks, water resources, wildlife habitats and historic sites,” Buchanan’s office noted. “In Florida alone, the LWCF has invested more than $1 billion to protect the Everglades, Biscayne National Park, Osceola National Forest, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Caspersen Beach right here in Sarasota County. The Florida National Scenic Trail, one of only eleven National Scenic Trails throughout the U.S., also benefits from this successful program and is currently relying on new LWCF funding to protect shorelines.”
Buchanan weighed in on Tuesday as to why Congress needed to approve the LWCF, stressing its importance to the Sunshine State and noting that the clock is ticking down until Congress adjourns.
“This important conservation program will help preserve Florida’s iconic environmental resources for future generations,” Buchanan said. “It’s regrettable that despite broad bipartisan support Congress allowed this vital fund to expire.”
There is not much time left in the 115th Congress as Democrats get ready to assume control of the U.S. House in January. Buchanan, one of the co-chairs of the state delegation, currently sits on the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Budget Committees.
Buchanan’s office insisted that Florida benefited from the LWCF.
“Florida’s economy is dependent on this important conservation program, which greatly benefits the state’s $60 billion outdoor recreation industry, supporting nearly half a million jobs and producing roughly $3.5 billion in state and local tax revenue,” the congressman’s office noted.
First elected to Congress in 2006, Buchanan was targeted by Democrats this election cycle but kept his seat.