Daines Helps Move Forward Key Legislation to Reauthorize LWCF, Expand Access to Public Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today helped move forward critical bipartisan solutions to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and protect and preserve Montana’s outdoors heritage.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this morning on a large bipartisan vote. This bill promotes and protects access to Montana’s public lands and increases recreational opportunities for hunters and anglers.

Additionally, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 would shine a light on how the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) payments are empowering obstructionists who frequently litigate forest management projects in Montana and the west. The bill creates a transparent online database detailing the recipients and amount of EAJA payments, allowing Congress and the American people to assess the scope and impact of these payments.  

“Montanans know how precious our public lands are and how important it is that we work together to protect and promote access to them,” Daines stated. “The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act will benefit thousands of Montanans who enjoy fishing, hunting and hiking in Montana’s great outdoors and I’m proud to see it move through the legislative process.”

This Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 is the second bill including permanent reauthorization of LWCF that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has successfully passed out of Committee. Both bills now await action on the Senate floor.

“As Montana’s sole member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I’m pleased that Committee has twice approved bipartisan bills to permanently reauthorize LWCF,” Daines stated. “It is imperative that Senate leadership take up and pass permanent reauthorization as quickly as possible.”

Daines is an original cosponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015. It contains 14 bipartisan provisions to support sportsmen’s access to public lands and recreational opportunities, including a measure Daines sponsored while serving in the House to utilize LWCF to increase Montanans’ access to public lands. 

A full list of the measures included in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s website.  

Daines has been actively working to secure strong funding for LWCF.

Yesterday, Daines sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging them to take up and pass permanent LWCF reauthorization. Daines is also a cosponsor of S.338, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to secure a permanent solution for LWCF. 

Daines successfully included an amendment in this year’s Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act to increase LWCF programs by nearly $14 million, bringing the overall total funding for LWCF to the FY2015 enacted level of $306 million.