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House Votes to Cut Conservation Funding

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WASHINGTON, September 11, 2019 – Today the House of Representatives voted in favor of legislation (H.R. 1941 and H.R. 205) that limits primary funding for conservation programs across the nation and a decision that stands in the way of the benefits and positive impacts domestic energy production can have on the economy, job growth and U.S. energy security.

“Bad policy that closes the door on this critical energy development hurts local economies, America’s energy and national security, and takes America a step in the wrong direction,” said API’s Vice President of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “Banning offshore oil and natural gas exploration and development directly limits the primary funding source of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and increases our reliance on foreign energy sources.

“The U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to contain vast undiscovered oil and natural gas resources. Today’s vote for legislation that could cripple future U.S. offshore energy development needs to be seen for the longer-term damage it could do to America’s conservation efforts, strategic energy development and national security.”

Revenues from offshore oil and natural gas production serve as the primary source of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which protects wildlife habitats, outdoor recreational areas, and national parks across the country. If passed, H.R. 205 and H.R. 1941 would close the door on future oil and natural gas production in new areas, dramatically constraining future funding for the LWCF – which was just permanently authorized and has provided more than $4 billion for over 40,000 projects since 1965.

Offshore oil and natural gas production is safer than ever, thanks to technological advancements, strict standards, and best practices. In addition, the increased use of natural gas and innovative technologies created with petroleum products have actually reduced U.S. emissions to their lowest levels in a decade – helping provide cleaner air in these same communities – as well as globally when exported abroad.

“The oil and natural gas industry has a strong commitment to conservation and regularly partners with local organizations and states to protect species and habitats as an integral aspect of safe energy development,” said Milito. “This work is being done now with no cost to American taxpayers and smart policy would support the funding through revenues from oil and natural gas production to water conservation programs, wildlife habitats, national parks, and outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, and fishing.”

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.