U.S. Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt issued a recent secretarial order on the Land and Waters Conservation Fund. The Order prioritizes input from local governments and leaders, which will help stop unchecked land grabs by the federal government. It requires written support from local governments for any land or water acquisition.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the Public Lands Council (PLC) praised the announcement saying local stakeholders know what their communities need.
“The LWCF was originally created to be used as a discrete tool to strengthen recreational opportunities for local communities and improve public lands management” said NCBA Executive Director of Natural Resources and PLC Executive Director, Kaitlynn Glover. “States and local stakeholders know best what their communities need and should be directly involved in these decisions,”
Glover added, “Ranchers appreciate Secretary Bernhardt’s work to make certain LWCF cannot be used as a tool for rampant, unchecked acquisitions that would compromise the health of Western landscapes and federal agencies’ ability to manage the lands and waters already under their purview.”
The Great American Outdoors (GAO) Act was signed into law in August. NCBA and PLC said the Act gave federal agencies free rein to spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year of LWCF funding for the sole purposes of acquiring new private land without any oversight from Congress.
Prior to Senate passage, PLC and NCBA sent a letter signed by 48 livestock and natural resources groups in highlighting the blatant conflict by pairing the mounting disrepair of current land under federal control and allowing rampant acquisition without Congressional oversight.
NCBA/PLC – 2020