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PNS Daily Newscast - August 15, 2018 


Closing arguments today in the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Also on the Wednesday rundown: Primary Election results; climate change is making summer fun harder to find across the U.S.; and how parents can win the battle between kids' outdoor play and screen time.

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Veterans Join Push to Renew Land and Water Conservation Fund

Point Arena in Mendocino County is part of California Coastal National Monument, one of thousands of public projects partially funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. (Wikimedia Commons)
Point Arena in Mendocino County is part of California Coastal National Monument, one of thousands of public projects partially funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. (Wikimedia Commons)
July 25, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Thousands of veterans are calling on Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund before it expires in September. They want to save a program that has been used to protect millions of acres of public lands and build countless parks and ball fields over the past 50 years.

The Vet Voice Foundation released a new report showing the benefits of keeping the LWCF going. Retired Army Col. Arnold V. Strong, a Californian who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said America's wide-open spaces are a big part of what he fought for.

"Every veteran, every American, draws from this extraordinary experiment we call America," he said, "and being able to be in the wild places helps to bring us back to, you know, that we're really part of something special here in the United States."

Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1965 with royalties collected from onshore and offshore oil and gas projects, not taxpayer dollars. The LWCF has played a major role in establishing many national monuments, including the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument in the Southern California desert. However, Congress often has raided the funds for other uses over the years.

Strong said veterans in particular value public lands as places to hunt, fish, camp, and generally destress and reconnect with friends and family after a long deployment.

"It really is a process of reintegration and healing," he said. "When you can get into the wild places and realize that you're safe, that you're at one with nature, it's a vital piece of all of our healing."

LWCF grants have helped fund more than 41,000 local projects. More than 8,000 veterans have signed a letter calling on Congress to reauthorize the program.

The report is online at vetvoicefoundation.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA