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Nick Ayers is said to reject Trump’s offer to be White House chief of staff. Also on the Monday rundown: help still needed in areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael, and look for a domestic workers bill of rights to be introduced in congress next year.

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Advocates Cheer Senate Passage of Land and Water Conservation Fund

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports places such as Sequoia National Park. (michaelkirch/morguefile)
The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports places such as Sequoia National Park. (michaelkirch/morguefile)
April 21, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif - Conservation advocates are celebrating Wednesday's passage of a bill to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) by the U.S. Senate. The fund expired last September but was given a three-year reprieve in December. It uses revenues from the sale of one natural resource, offshore oil and gas, to support another precious natural resource, our public lands and parks.

Rue Mapp founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit in Oakland that is dedicated to helping urban African-Americans explore nature, works to encourage city dwellers to get up close and personal with Mother Nature.

"It's so important that those places have the support so that the infrastructure, that there's facilities that are in shape, so that people, especially first-time users, feel comfortable," she said.

The LWCF has funneled close to $4 billion into conservation projects since its inception, and $2 billion of that went to California alone.

The fund helps acquire and maintain open space, forests, wildlife refuges and areas around rivers, lakes and coastlines. But Mapp notes it also makes sure Americans have access to parks, sports fields and public pools.

"These are places right in our own backyard," she added. "It's not as though these funds are going to only be protecting far-off places."

An estimated 142 million Americans participate in outdoor recreation activities each year, generating $464 billion in consumer spending. The LWCF funding was part of the larger Energy Policy Modernization Act, which will now go to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The full bill can be read online here.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA