Committee OKs Full Parks Funding from Oil and Gas Drilling Leases

The House Natural Resources Committee approved the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009, known as the CLEAR Act, H.R. 3534, by a vote of 27-21 late last week.

This bill would provide full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program to conserve U.S. natural resources and provide outdoor recreation opportunities.

Funding for the program, which comes from conservation royalties from the proceeds of oil and gas drilling leases, has been subject to the annual appropriations process since its inception in 1965. Congress appropriated the full $900 million that is annually authorized for the program only once during its 45-year history.

“If the disaster in the Gulf has taught us anything, it is that we need to understand the tradeoffs and benefits from oil and gas drilling and to be proactive rather than reactive to ensure that the American public receives a benefit from such drilling, while at the same time ensuring solid protective measures for the environment,” said Barbara Tulipane, chief executive officer of the National Recreation and Park Association.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is comprised of a Federal and State Assistance program that work together to ensure that future generations have access to national, and state and local parks, wildlife refuges, forests and outdoor recreation resources—in perpetuity.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people.

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