Lee Letter Asks McConnell Not To Include Federal Land Buying Program in Spending Bill

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Friday, asking him not to include language permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in any end of the year or must-pass legislation.

“Since its inception 50 years ago, the LWCF has drifted far from its original intent and is in desperate need of reform,” the letter reads. “Simply reauthorizing the LWCF, or doing so with insubstantial reforms, will only further erode support for the program.”

There is currently a $19 billion backlog of maintenance projects on existing federal lands, the letter notes, while the LWCF has a $20 billion surplus. But the LWCF  hasn’t spent a dime on maintenance in over a decade. The letter asks McConnell to allow for a debate about whether “a dedicated portion of LWCF funds should be focused toward land the federal government already owns.”

The letter also asks that land acquisition rules and state allocation of LWCF funds be addressed.

You can read a copy of the letter here.