October 1, 2015
Contact: Alexandra Merlino
(LAS CRUCES) – Leading New Mexico business associations, the New Mexico Partnership for Responsible Business and Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, call for Congress to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which expired on September 30.
“The LWCF has conserved public lands that profoundly benefit the businesses, families and communities of New Mexico every day. LWCF helped protect the Organ Mountains and other sites all across New Mexico including Valles Caldera National Preserve as well as City of Rocks, Pancho Villa and Mesilla Bosque State Parks. It also built local ball fields, play grounds and parks in nearly every community in the state,” said Carrie Hamblen, Executive Director of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce. “Outdoor recreation, tourism, and hunting and fishing are crucial to New Mexico’s economic prosperity, and protected public lands drive this economic engine. By letting LWCF expire, Congressional leaders have put New Mexico’s economic future, and the well being of our families, in jeopardy by callously allowing the LWCF to expire.”
Established by Congress in 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was a bipartisan commitment to use offshore drilling royalties to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.
The fund uses revenues from the depletion of one natural resource – offshore oil and gas – to support the conservation of another precious resource – our land and water. The program does not rely on taxpayer dollars. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf are put into this fund. The money is intended to create and to protect and to maintain national parks, national forests, and national wild life refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.
“Here in New Mexico, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Representatives Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham have been strong supporters of saving LWCF and continue to work in Congress on this effort,” Hamblen said. “We hopeleadership in Congress will recognize the value of protecting our land and water so that future generations of Americans can continue to enjoy our country’s great outdoors.”
Founded in 2010, the mission of the Partnership for Responsible Business is to educate the public about local sustainable economies, to promote economic and community development through environmentally and socially responsible entrepreneurship, and to partner with allied organizations to advance socially responsible economic and community development policies and practices.
The Las Cruces Green Chamber is the leading buy-local and sustainable-business support organization in Southern New Mexico.