Monday, August 2, 2021

Play

Hundreds of thousands of Medi-Cal recipients are paying monthly premiums when they donít have to; Dr. Fauci predicts the pandemic will get worse.

Play

The Texas voting rights fight gets star power; lawmakers stage a sit-in as the eviction moratorium expires; and Senators work overtime on infrastructure.

Congress Set to Revive Land and Water Conservation Fund

Play

Thursday, February 21, 2019   

LINCOLN, Neb. – In a rare display of bipartisanship, last week the U.S. Senate passed a public-lands measure by a vote of 92 to 8 that includes indefinitely extending the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Now, all eyes are on members of the House, who could vote on the public-lands package as early as next week.

According to Tracy Stone-Manning, vice president for public lands for the National Wildlife Federation, more than 75 percent of Americans support the program, which uses fees from offshore oil and gas drilling to protect public lands.

"This one issue – the ability to bring people together around public lands, around protection of our wildlife – has punched through as something that is so uniquely and beautifully American that it has brought the Senate together, and we're hoping it does the House as well," said Stone-Manning.

For nearly 50 years, the program has helped Nebraskans create ball fields, swimming pools, playgrounds, picnic shelters and open spaces, and helped protect Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge and Scotts Bluff National Monument.

Critics of the program have pointed to a shift away from state grants and an emphasis on federal land acquisition, which they see as lost opportunities for extraction industries. Congress allowed the LWCF to expire in 2018.

Garett Reppenhagen, Rocky Mountain director of the Vet Voice Foundation, said most land acquisitions are used to create access points to lands owned by all Americans. Reppenhagen, who served in Kosovo and Iraq, added that camping, hiking and fishing on public lands have helped him readjust to civilian life.

"Military veterans use the outdoors to heal from our military trauma, from our experiences on the battlefield," he explained. "It helps with our post-traumatic stress disorder. And we use the outdoors to bond with our family and friends when we come home from long deployments."

Stone-Manning said the program also boosts local economies, especially in rural areas. Nebraska's $5 billion outdoor recreation industry supports 49,000 jobs and contributes more than $300 million annually to state and local tax coffers.

"Our population is growing; the need for open space and need for parks is growing with it," she pointed out. "So we desperately need this program to continue, so that our kids and our grandkids have the exact same access to parks and wildlife habitat that we have."

She said if the bill clears the House and makes it to the president's desk, it would be the biggest public-lands package in a decade.




get more stories like this via email

Some tenants' advocates would like Virginia's new budget proposal for American Rescue Plan funding to include money for low-income renters to hire lawyers for eviction cases. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …


Social Issues

ROSLINDALE, Mass. - A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers …

Social Issues

DENVER-During the COVID health emergency, the federal government made school meals available for free to all students, regardless of their financial …


The Blackfeet Reservation is one of seven tribal reservations in Montana. (Kushnirov Avraham/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - COVID-19 is underscoring the importance of ensuring that people's estates are in order, but estate planning can be be tricky for …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Pandemic fallout still has U.S. states clawing their way back to normalcy, and New Mexico believes its decision to provide more …

In a new poll, 64% of New Hampshire voters said they think capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as income from wages; 56% support increasing the corporate tax rate to 28%. (Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CONCORD, N.H. - New polling finds many New Hampshire voters think it's important that wealthy individuals and corporations pay what's described as …

Social Issues

AMARILLO, Texas - The American Farm Bureau Federation hosts more than 100 college level chapters across 35 states, but this is the first time its …

Social Issues

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - As activists mark more than 100 days of protest since the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Junior - killed outside his Elizabeth …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021