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AFFTA applauds conservation bill approval

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Ben Bulis, President of AFFTA, has welcomed the passing of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) bill.

The representative body for the fly fishing industry in the US has welcomed the passing of a bill that secures funding for what has been described as one of the nation’s most important conservation programmes.

The US House of Natural Resources Committee has unanimously approved a bill to permanently reauthorise the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Due to expire at the end of this month, the bi-partisan bill now moves to the House for approval. The committee also passed another bill, H.R. 6510, that provides mandatory funding to address the critical infrastructure backlog on federal lands.

The LWCF has invested more than $16 billion into local communities in every state since its inception in 1964 for everything from public lands acquisition to development of public parks and waterway access.

Ben Bulis, President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), said: “We have long stood by the conservation, restoration and protection of public lands. They afford each and every one of us the freedom and access to enjoy the uniquely American beauty of our wild and natural spaces, whether we fish, hunt, hike, camp, ride or simply visit.

“We applaud these bipartisan efforts to ensure the protection of our outdoor heritage for generations to come. We urge House members to take up and pass both bills immediately.”

Authorised to receive $900 million annually, the LWCF programme costs the taxpayer nothing as it is completely funded by offshore drilling revenues. However, it has only been fully funded twice in over 50 years.

The H.R. 6510 would establish a fund to tackle the deferred maintenance backlog on National Parks and other federal lands by utilising off and onshore federal energy development revenue not otherwise allocated for other purposes.

Bulis added: “We look forward to the swift passage of the permanent reathorisation of LWCF and urge our Congressional leaders to also fully – and permanently – fund it with the dollars that are the lifeblood of the programme’s success.”

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