City of Gig Harbor Supports Land and Water Conservation Fund
Gig Harbor, WA. September 16th – The City of Gig Harbor is a strong supporter of fully reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is set to expire at the end of this month. We appreciate Senator Maria Cantwell’s (D-WA) efforts to ensure reauthorization happens, particularly in her successful push to attach LWCF onto S. 2012, The Energy Policy and Modernization Act that passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 30, 2015. This fund has a fifty year track record of improving boating access and developing maritime infrastructure, and it continues to be a great benefit to the citizens of Gig Harbor and to the broader peninsula region.
“There is only a few weeks left for Congress to act. Make no mistake, the future of this fund is in jeopardy. Fortunately for the state of Washington, our Senators along with Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA), appreciate the need programs that support the economic impact of maritime industries and recreation. This includes both the $4 billion spent annually in Washington State and the $121 billion national total, as well as the historic significance it has to marine communities like Gig Harbor.
“I commend Sen. Cantwell’s bi-partisan efforts with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to ensure that this program remains an important tool for communities like ours. However, there is much work to do for LWCF reauthorization to reach the President’s desk by the end of the month,” said Jill Guernsey, Mayor of Gig Harbor.
Across the country, communities like Gig Harbor – with a vibrant and historic maritime heritage – have benefitted from LWCF. Unlike traditional appropriations, Congress collects money for LWCF from offshore oil leases and not from taxpayer dollars. They have the authority to collect up to $900 million for the fund, which is a fraction of the entire lease-money Congress collects from this activity.
The LWCF helped conserve treasured places in Washington – including our own Eddon Boat Park in Gig Harbor. Eddon Boat Park allows our citizens and tourists from around the world greater access to our maritime recreational opportunities and industry. The Eddon Boat Park includes a public pier and float, spectacular views of our harbor, public water access, supports several maritime educational programs, and includes a historic boat building. Without LWCF we likely would not have been able to preserve and improve Eddon Boat Park.
Annually, LWCF contributes to more than 41,000 state and local conservation projects across the country. However, there is still a backlog of unmet conservation needs because the government continues to divert money from the fund to unrelated purposes, which has amounted to $18 billion in lost dollars during the lifetime of this fund. For fiscal year 2015, Congress left $10.2 million in projects unfunded in Washington alone.
“LWCF must be reauthorized. At no cost to the taxpayers, LWCF would continue to provide those needed maritime infrastructure improvements that local governments like Gig Harbor needs. Therefore, we strongly urge Congress to act now and reauthorize LWCF in the coming weeks,” said Mayor Guernsey.
For more information about LWCF, please contact City Administrator Ron Williams, City of Gig Harbor at (253) 851-6127.
Gig Harbor, Washington’s Maritime City. www.cityofgigharbor.net.