Conservation’s Lifeline: Offshore Energy Development
Posted June 11, 2020
Practical, safe, and responsible offshore energy development doesn’t just create jobs and power our lives – it also funds America’s largest federal conservation program. For decades, the natural gas and oil industry has directly contributed to outdoor recreation and environmental conservation, thanks to a long-standing law that would be strengthened by legislation that is up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.
Senators will soon vote on S. 3422, the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill that would codify a permanent funding stream for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address a considerable maintenance and construction backlog on public lands.
Since 1965, LWCF grants have provided more than $4.4 billion for over 40,000 projects, supporting resource management, habitat restoration, and outdoor recreation such as hiking, hunting, and fishing. Offshore natural gas and oil royalties provide the primary source of funding for all LWCF projects, from the Grand Canyon National Park to community basketball courts.
As summer starts and the coronavirus limits the nation’s ability to convene inside, outdoor activities are more important than ever. Last month, API was happy to see the Interior Department announce a $227 million LWCF distribution to all 50 states, five U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for specified park and outdoor recreation and conservation.
But we won’t stop there. Energy producers are proud to grow the economy, create good-paying jobs, and invest in projects that enhance America’s natural beauty. Offshore energy revenues are essential to conserving the LWCF itself.
About The Author
Mike Sommers is the 15th chief executive of API since its founding nearly a century ago. Prior to coming to API, Mike led the American Investment Council, a trade association representing many of the nation’s leading private equity and growth capital firms and other business partners. He spent two decades in critical staff leadership positions in the U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, including chief of staff for then-House Speaker John Boehner. Mike is a native of Naperville, Illinois, and a graduate of the honors program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Mike and Jill Sommers, a former commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have three children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.
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