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Land and Water Conservation Fund Statement on Signing H.R. 5306 Into Law.

June 11, 1977

I am today signing into law, H.R. 5306, to increase the authorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Fund was established in 1965 to provide matching grants to State and local governments for the planning, acquisition, and development of outdoor recreational lands. It has also provided the primary source of funding for acquisition of Federal recreational lands, including the national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges.

As I stated in my environmental message of May 23, 1977, my administration is strongly committed to the preservation and wise management of areas of special natural, historical, and cultural value for the benefit of all Americans both now and in the future. The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been and will continue to be an important tool in achieving these goals.

H.R. 5306 will authorize increases in the levels of the Fund of $300 million in 1978 and $150 million in 1979 to a total of $900 million for each year. These additional moneys would be specifically available for reducing the current backlog of Federal recreational areas already authorized for acquisition.

My administration shares the concerns expressed by Members of the Congress over escalating rural land values and the potential degradation of important resource values affecting these lands. For this reason, I have already initiated and intend to continue pursuing a land acquisition program that will substantially reduce the existing backlog of authorized, but unacquired, recreational lands.

However, I do want to make clear that my approval of this legislation does not imply a commitment by my administration to seek full funding of the increased authorizations for 1978 and 1979. While I am committed to an orderly reduction of the acquisition backlog, I feel that it is also important to retain the flexibility to assess competing budget demands for all Federal programs on a continuing basis and to set spending priorities in the context of overall national needs.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 5306 is Public Law 95-42, approved June 11.

Jimmy Carter, Land and Water Conservation Fund Statement on Signing H.R. 5306 Into Law. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243674

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