Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, joined with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the U.S. House on Thursday to roll out a proposal to permanently fund a popular federal conservation program — all without spending any taxpayer money.
During a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol, Fitzpatrick, of Bucks County, said his plan to permanently pay for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, at a cost of $900 million annually. The money would come from “a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments,” he said.
“Since its establishment over 50 years ago, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has promoted recreational activity and contributed to our nation’s robust economy, along with conserving our national parks, forests, and critical wildlife areas,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement released by his office, “I fought for reauthorization of this fund which affects 98 percent of counties in the United States and encompasses 1 in 15 American jobs. Now I’m fighting to fully fund the LWCF so we can address conservation and recreational access needs across the country.”
Funding for the federal program expired last September, much to the consternation of environmentalists, who have called it “one of the country’s most important conservation programs.”
Congress voted to reauthorize the program. But, predictably, it didn’t come up with a permanent funding source, according to published reports.
And that’s a big deal because smart conservation means a good economy. Outdoor recreation, conservation and historic preservation activities contribute more than $887 billion annually to the U.S. economy, supporting 7.6 million jobs, according to data released by Fitzpatrick’s office.
“Over its 50-year history, the LWCF has given Americans the opportunity to make memories hunting, fishing, camping and otherwise enjoying our public lands, together. As the father of a 2-year-old who lives in the shadow of South Mountain Park, I know firsthand the importance of sharing our special public places with the next generation, and I look forward to the memories my son and I will make together exploring the outdoors as he grows,” U.S. Rep. Reuben Gallego, D-Ariz., a co-sponsor, wrote in a Thursday op-Ed for The Hill, a publication that covers Congress.
Environmentalists welcomed the news.
“Protecting our public lands for future generations is essential, but it’s by no means guaranteed, especially as long as these funds are redirected away from their intended uses,” Jonathan Asher, the government relations director at theWilderness Society, and a spokesman for the LWCF Coalition, said in a statement.
Congress permanently reauthorized the LWCF, as it’s known in Washington shorthand, because “people across the country overwhelmingly support LWCFand the benefits it provides to communities,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, of the League of Conservation Voters, said .
“Now it’s time to keep up the momentum and ensure LWCF gets the funding it deserves. The LWCF deserves full, guaranteed funding at $900 million every single year so our growing population can have more parks and public lands to boost the outdoor recreation economy and quality of life for all communities. We thank Rep. Fitzpatrick for his leadership on this legislation,” he said.
Elizabeth Hardison has your clip-and-save guide to the EITC: What it is, how it works, who funds it, and who benefits from it. Print it out and put it on your fridge. If you don’t have a fridge, go out and buy one, print the story out, and then put it on your new fridge.
Stephen Caruso deftly explains how a split over eVerify requirements for construction workers is dividing Big Labor and its allies in the General Assembly.
Fifteen bucks an hour for a minimum wage won’t make anyone rich. But on writing on our Commentary Page this morning, Aryanna Berringer explains how it could make a huge difference for scores of Pennsylvania’s working families — like her own.
On the other side of the economic coin, Kevin Sunday of the Pa. Chamber makes the case for more regulatory reform.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District is pushing back against a Philly supervised injection site’s claims of religious liberty, The Inquirer reports.
Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana permitting process is shot through with ‘errors and irregularities,’ PennLive reports.
The Post-Gazette has the story of a Pittsburgh dad who’s celebrating his first Father’s Day, even as he mourns his own father’s death.
Pennsylvania’s projected, year-end, $800 million-plus budget surplus may be overblown, The Morning Call reports.
The Tribune-Review would like you to take a moment to observe Flag Day here in Pennsylvania today.
Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:
WHYY-FM runs down the contents of the $5 billion budget approved by City Council.
State Senate Republicans don’t want to pay for the voting machine upgradessought by Gov. Tom Wolf, WITF-FM reports.
Sour grapes much? Philly Sheriff Jewell Williams might pull newspaper sheriff’s sales ads in the wake of his May primary loss, BillyPenn reports.
Former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta may challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright in the 8th CD next year, PoliticsPA reports, citing the National Journal.
Politico has the odds on the next WH press secretary now that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is headed for the exits.
What Goes On.
11:30 a.m., Soldiers & Sailors Grove: PPL will demonstrate what it’s like to be shocked with 7.2 million volts. No, for realz.
Gov. Tom Wolf holds a 2 p.m. newser in the Reception Room to renew the state’s Opioid Disaster Declaration, and to announce some new initiatives to fight the abuse epidemic.
What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene, holds a golf outing at Carmichaels Golf Club in scenic Carmichaels, Pa., at 8 a.m. Admission runs $100 to $1,000. Bill DeWeese’s chagrin that his former top aide still has his old gig? Priceless.
Here’s one from The Hold Steady mainmain Craig Finn’s new solo record. It’s ‘Blankets.’
Friday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link.
Anaheim’s Shohei Ohtani has become the first Japanese-born player to hit for the cycle, and the first Angel since Mike Trout, according to this report.
And now you’re up to date.
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