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Veterans Call for Reauthorization of Fund Used for Parks, Monuments

Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped create the Flight 93 National Memorial site in Shanksville, Penn. (pxhere)
Money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped create the Flight 93 National Memorial site in Shanksville, Penn. (pxhere)
May 25, 2018

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – More than eight thousand veterans from across the country have signed a letter urging Congress to reauthorize a program that has helped protect some of the nation's most historic battlefields.

For more than 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has been used to acquire land for national parks, recreational access to public lands, and more than 40,000 state and local park projects across the country. But unless Congress acts, the LWCF will expire on September 30th.

Garett Reppenhagen is the son of a Vietnam Veteran, grandson of two World War II Veterans, and served in Kosovo and Iraq. He’s also with the Vet Voice Foundation, and says as the nation observes Memorial Day, it's important for leaders to support a program that honors the sacrifices made by service members.

“It protects our ability to utilize the outdoors and recreate in public lands, and it also helps protect some of these battlefields and historic sites of our military heritage,” says Reppenhagen.

The LWCF has invested more than $300 million in Pennsylvania, including over $24 million to protect Valley Forge Historic Park and $19 million for Gettysburg National Military Park.

Reppenhagen points out that the Land and Water Conservation Fund helps preserve national treasures without using taxpayer money. It is financed through revenue drawn from offshore oil and gas royalties.

"Because obviously, there's degradation to our environment from oil and gas drilling, the original idea was take some of these dollars and put it towards conservation efforts,” says Reppenhagen.

He says allowing the LWCF to expire would jeopardize the preservation of America's military heritage and monuments to those who sacrificed for their country.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA