Dear State Executive Directors and Presidents:
NRPA advocates have fought a tireless fight over the past week for full and dedicated funding for LWCF that specified equal funding for the Stateside and Fed. programs. We appreciate all of your efforts and support over the past week and are happy to report that it has produced results (updates below action items). However, our fight is not over. Now is a critical time and we need a ground swell of advocacy activity to ensure a LWCF full and dedicated funding measure specifies equal funding for the State Assistance and Federal programs. You have a critical role to play in this effort, and we need your support. Congressional staff have told us the only way this will happen is if Members of Congress hear from their constituents.
- Sign-on ltr: NRPA is circulating an organizational sign-on letter for full and dedicated funding with a provision specifying equal funding for the State Assistance program. It is imperative that we get all 50 state associations signed-on to this ltr. Attached are both the House and Senate letters. Please let me know if your state association will sign-on by 3pm (edt) on Wednesday, July 7.
- State Assoc. Ltr: We are also asking associations to send individual ltrs. To Senators and Representatives. (Templates attached) If possible, please try to send ASAP. Please fax or email ltrs. rather than mailing them.
- Call your Members of Congress: After you send the letter please Follow up with your Senator and Representative to ensure they received the ltr and to once again impress upon them the importance of full and dedicated yet equal funding. Also attached are general talking points for Full, Dedicated, and Equal LWCF Funding.
- Alert your members: Alert your members to what is going on and encourage them to make calls and send letters to their Members of Congress. The NRPA advocacy site has a letter template and will allow them to email their member of Congress with just a few clicks of their mouse. Encourage your members to visit the NRPA Advocacy Action Center and participate in the Take Action advocacy campaigns for LWCF.
- Keep NRPA’s Staff Updated: Knowing which associations have sent letters and/or made calls when we meet with Congressional staff is a powerful advocacy tool. Please keep NRPA informed of your efforts and when possible share ltrs and email correspondence and update us on conversations you may have had with congressional staff.
Update on LWCF in the Senate:
As you know, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee marked-up oil and gas reform legislation (S. 3516) on Wednesday of this week. Last week we learned that Sen. Udall (D-CO) would file an amendment to S. 3516 for full and dedicated funding for the LWCF.
Late Tuesday evening we received word that Senator Barrasso (R-WY) had filed an amendment to S. 3516 specifying that of funds appropriated to LWCF 60% must go to the State Assistance Program and 40% must go to the Federal program. Sen. Barrasso based the percentages on the original LWCF law authorized in 1965.
During the course of the mark-up, Senator Udall withdrew his amendment for full and dedicated funding. Due to Senate rules, Barrasso was unable to offer his amendment for Stateside after Udall withdrew his amendment. Yes, a mere technicality prevented Sen. Barrasso from offering his amendment.
This bill will now go to the floor of the Senate for a vote by all Senators. We anticipate a vote occurring within the next three weeks.
Update on LWCF in the House:
Last September House Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Nick Rahall (D-WV) introduced the CLEAR Act (H.R. 3534), a comprehensive energy bill that included full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) along with a provision calling for a 50-50 split between the Federal and State Assistance programs.
In response to the oil spill in the Gulf, Chairman Rahall recently introduced an amended version of the bill that will marked-up in the coming weeks (possibly July 14). For unexplained reasons the amended bill, while still calling for full and dedicated funding of LWCF, DOES NOT include equal funding for the State Assistance program.
Indications are that once this bill is marked-up in the Natural Resources Cmt., it will quickly move to the floor of the House for a vote by all members.
Again, thank you for all of your advocacy efforts. Please do not hesitate to contact the Public Policy office should you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns. Thank you and have a great 4th of July weekend.
Advocacy and Outreach Specialist
National Recreation and Park Association