President Trump’s proposed budget diverts nearly all the revenue usually used for the Land and Water Conservation fund.
Maine Senator Angus King made his opposition to the budget heard at a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
“Having this structure, we just reauthorized, permanently, the Land and Water conservation fund but if we don’t fund it, it doesn’t mean anything,” King says. “I guess the question before us is we ought to fund it to the authorized level.”
The program, created in 1965, is supposed to get up to $900 million per year from the lease of federal land for oil and gas. It has reached that amount only twice in its history, and the President’s proposed budget is proposing only a fraction of that. King urged his colleagues to support more money for the program that has helped build and expand numerous parks and recreational areas in Maine.
“This is money, as you characterize it, that comes from the land, and it was designed in 1965 to go back to the land. That’s exactly what the purpose was,” King says. “To the extent that we are siphoning off these funds for other entirely different purposes, that’s really not appropriate.”