March 04, 2020

VIDEO: Udall Secures Commitment from Secretary Bernhardt on Trump Administration Support for Fully Funding LWCF

Udall is championing new bipartisan legislation to fully and permanently fund Land and Water Conservation Fund

Video of Udall’s question is available HERE at hour 01:09. For a downloadable copy of the exchange, please contact news@tomudall.senate.gov.  

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall secured a commitment from U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt that the Trump administration is now supporting full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), following President Trump’s tweets last night that he is “calling on Congress to send [him] a Bill that fully and permanently funds the LWCF,” despite his administration once again cutting funding for LWCF by 97 percent in its latest budget.

Udall also spoke at a bipartisan press conference to announce new legislation to fully and permanently fund the LWCF following the president’s statement. 

In the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee hearing on the Department of the Interior’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request, Udall asked Bernhardt, “I am heartened by the President’s newfound support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I’ve been a champion for this program my entire career and I am proud to join Senators Manchin, Daines and Gardner in this new combined bill. … I hope the president is sincere in abandoning this administration’s previous attempts to gut the LWCF. I’d be more than eager to work across party lines with him to get this done for the American people and for future generations.

“Secretary Bernhardt, there is tremendous excitement in the conservation community today.  Can you assure us that the whole administration is now supporting the president’s call for permanent mandatory LWCF funding, and will you work with us in a bipartisan way to get this done as soon as possible?” Udall asked. 

“… The president made his comment and I’m pretty – 100% – confident everybody’s getting in line,” Bernhardt responded. 

Udall helped lead the fight to permanently reauthorize LWCF in 2019 and has championed legislation to provide full and permanent funding to the program since his first term in Congress in 2000.  

In New Mexico, LWCF has invested more than $312 million to protect public lands and open spaces and increase recreational opportunities. New Mexico's $9.9 billion outdoor industry - built around places that have benefited from LWCF - is a significant economic driver in the state, supporting 99,000 jobs and $2.8 billion in wages. 

Udall’s support for LWCF also stems from his efforts to address the ongoing nature crisis caused by loss of habitat. A recent study found that the U.S. is losing a football field’s worth of natural habitat every thirty seconds, and there are 12,000 species that have been identified as needing better protection to avoid the risk of extinction. Udall is the sponsor of the Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature which calls on the United States to protect 30% of its natural land by the year 2030.