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Bipartisan Land and Water Conservation Fund Protects Public Lands, Relies on Offshore Oil and Natural Gas Revenues

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WASHINGTON, June 12, 2019 – Today, API released the following statement as a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation to guarantee $900 million in annual funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) which helps protect and conserve public lands and improve outdoor recreation opportunities: 

“As lawmakers consider the legislative options for the Land and Water Conservation Fund—arguably the most significant conservation program in the U.S.—it’s important to remember that offshore oil and natural gas production is the primary source of revenue for it,” said API Vice President of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “However, offshore oil and natural gas revenues flow directly from production, and future production depends upon expanded opportunities for offshore leasing and revenue sharing. Proposals that seek to ban offshore oil and natural gas exploration and development directly attack the primary funding source of future LWCF funding and would serve to increase our reliance on foreign energy sources.

“API and its members have a strong commitment to conservation partnerships. We are proud to see that royalties from oil and natural gas production continue to fund water conservation programs, wildlife habitats, national parks, and outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, and fishing with basically no cost to American taxpayers. Oil and natural gas revenues also directly and positively impact some of our coastal states, including Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, which receive tens of millions of dollars each year from oil and natural gas revenues as a result of legislation that ensures disbursement to those coastal states.” 

The permanent reauthorization of the LWCF was signed into law on March 12th, 2019, after passing the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Energy revenue disbursements are often the second-highest federal revenue generator after taxes, and fund important conservation programs across the nation. Federal offshore revenues that fund LWCF grants are just a portion of the economic benefits to U.S. consumers afforded by offshore oil and natural gas development. 

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.