WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) today praised a recent Order by the Secretary of the Interior (DOI) which prioritized states’ role in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) investments. The LWCF was established by Congress to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources and to provide state and local governments with funds to purchase land, water, and wetlands. Senator Cramer backed legislation – which this Congress passed and President Trump signed – to reauthorize and fully fund this program. 

Last week, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced a Secretary’s Order with the criteria for investing these funds which, according to DOI, will:   

  • Increase flexibility for how states and local communities in places like North Dakota spend and match LWCF grants;
  • Honor DOI’s commitment to be a good neighbor by giving states and communities a voice in federal land acquisition; and
  • Prioritize investments that increase public access for recreation, enhance conservation and support recovery of endangered species.

“I trust Governor Burgum and our county commissioners to know North Dakota’s recreation and public access priorities better than any bureaucrat in Washington ever could,” said Senator Cramer.“Secretary Bernhardt is taking the right approach, working collaboratively with state and local partners instead of imposing the federal government’s mediocrity on each state. Washington should not be expanding its footprint without the consent of state and local leaders.”

Background

In March of 2019, President Trump signed the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act into law, which reauthorized LWCF (originally created in 1964) and prioritized parity for state grants rather the previous practice of funneling the majority of resources to federal land acquisitions. Funding for LWCF was made permanent under the Great American Outdoors Act, which Senator Cramer helped pass.