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"Big win for Montana": President Trump signals support for full LWCF funding

Posted at 7:53 AM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 19:26:41-05

Montana US Senator Steve Daines is getting presidential backing to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program.

Daines, who had lobbied for the program for years, first got it re-authorized but only partially funded.

Now, President Donald Trump says in a tweet that he will support full and permanent funding for the measure and is calling on Congress to send him a bill to sign.

This is a big turnaround for the president whose most recent budget called for slashing funding for LWCF by up to 97 percent.

Daines says the president is also supporting a measure to help national parks.

“That will give full, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and restore the Parks Act which deals with the maintenance backlog across national parks,” Daines said. “A big win for conservation, a big win for Montana.”

Montana US Senator Jon Tester has also been a champion for LWCF, having reintroduced legislation to permanently and fully fund it every Congress since 2009. Tester will be an original cosponsor of the legislation to fully and permanently fund LWCF and provide support for the National Park deferred maintenance backlog.

"We’ve been fighting tooth and nail for decades to get full funding for this critical conservation program that sustains our state’s $7.1 billion outdoor recreation economy and protects our Montana way of life for generations to come,” Tester said in a statement.

LWCF uses oil and gas revenue to fund projects like fishing access sites in Montana.

Daines had been criticized by some environmental and political groups for not delivering full funding for the program. He's promising to get the measure introduced within a week.