WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement on the Department of the Interior rescinding the Trump Administration’s Secretarial Order which prioritized the role of state and local communities in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) projects:

“The Interior Department’s action paves the way for bureaucrats to expand the federal estate without the consent of local communities. The Trump Administration’s Secretarial Order rightfully gave governors and county commissioners approval authority over federal acquisition projects to prevent Washington’s mediocrity from being imposed on the excellence of states like North Dakota. Once again, President Biden’s team is imposing a top-down approach, disregarding the voice of the communities most affected. So much for unity.”

Background:

The LWCF was established by Congress to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources and to provide local governments with funds to purchase land, water, and wetlands. Unfortunately it has been used by the bureaucracy under previous administrations to seize lands over the objections of states and local governments. The Trump Administration sought to remedy this problem, issuing a Secretary's Order which would have:   

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

The Biden Administration has now rescinded this order.