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A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

Daily Newscasts

WYO Group Protests “De-funding” of Recreation Projects

July 26, 2011

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The U.S. House is set to make a budget decision this week that could mean less money for Wyoming recreation and tourism projects. The Interior Department budget bill "de-funds" the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), bringing it to its lowest level ever.

Neil Thagard, a hunter who is also a project manager at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership in Wyoming, says it's important to understand the connection between that funding and state economics. More than $70 million has come to Wyoming from the fund over the years for parks, hunting and fishing access, and wildlife habitat.

"Our fish and wildlife-related activities provides this economy over $1 billion a year. We must continue to work to sustain our fish and wildlife, and our recreational opportunities, which include hunting and fishing."

A new national poll by the Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition shows that 88 percent of Americans support the funding, with no significant difference in that opinion by party affiliation or region.

Thagard points out that the bill has another downside. It has several riders attached that he says take aim at all sorts of outdoor attributes, such as clean air and water.

"That Interior appropriations bill certainly undermines Wyoming's fish and wildlife, as well as the hunting and angling opportunities that we have here."

The House bill would put the LWCF at 61-million dollars, which Wyoming's Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis approved last week. Full funding would be $900 million.

The LWCF is not tied to taxpayer dollars; the money comes from a small percentage of fees from offshore oil and gas drilling. The House plan up for a vote would use those funds elsewhere in the federal budget.

The LWCF poll results are at Neil Thagard is at 208-861-8634.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY