SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., July 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act, joining the Senate in voting to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In response to the news, Surfrider Foundation issued the following statement:
"The Surfrider Foundation applauds Congress for passing the Great American Outdoors Act to protect special places and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. This historic legislation will ensure full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has protected coastal areas from sea to shining sea for over 50 years. We call on President Trump to immediately sign this bipartisan bill into law so that future generations can enjoy our coastlines for years to come," said Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, Coastal Preservation Manager, Surfrider Foundation.
The Surfrider Foundation has been fighting for years to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of America's most effective conservation programs. Now, that dream will become a reality as Congress rallied rare bipartisan support to pass the Great American Outdoors Act. Indeed, the backing from both Democrats and Republicans shows that support for our nation's public lands and waters is important to all people.
The LWCF, often dubbed "America's best conservation program," was created with bipartisan support in 1964 and is based on a simple concept: use revenues from offshore oil and gas production to fund federal, state, and local government grants for land and water conservation projects. Using no taxpayer dollars, the LWCF protects parks, wildlife refuges, open spaces, sensitive habitat, and improves recreational opportunities across the U.S.
With respect to our coastlines, the Land and Water Conservation Fund provides major benefits as well. Over its history, the LWCF has helped protect some of America's most iconic beaches, coastal parks and shorelines. Surfrider recently published a report detailing the program's contribution to coastal conservation and recreation across the U.S. Surfrider's report also discusses the potential of the LWCF to support climate change adaptation, including strategies to make our coasts more resilient to sea level rise and extreme weather events.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the availability of close-to-home recreational opportunities is a critical aspect of environmental justice. More than ever, people want to get outside for both exercise and mental health, and these opportunities should be available for everyone. This keystone program benefits urban, suburban and rural communities alike, with funding for parks, ball fields, playgrounds and hiking trails in every state and over 99% of U.S. counties. This historic legislation will benefit all Americans by expanding access to the outdoors, fueling economic growth with "shovel ready" infrastructure projects, and protecting public lands for generations to come.
Surfrider is proud to have worked with many partners on this effort, including the Outdoor Alliance and the LWCF Coalition.
The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 170 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 700 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at surfrider.org.