Golden-led Push Leads to New Biden Admin Order to Reverse Harmful Changes to Land and Water Conservation Fund

February 12, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Just days after a large bipartisan group of House members led by Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) pushed President Biden’s Department of the Interior (DOI) to take action, the agency announced it was scrapping rules implemented by the Trump Administration intended to undermine the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of our nation’s most successful public lands conservation programs.

DOI issued a new order to rescind the rules, effective immediately.

“From ballfields to hiking trails, so many of the public lands Mainers use in our state have been made possible through the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Golden. “I took action — leading 87 of my colleagues from both parties — earlier this week to push the Biden Administration to strengthen the program and roll back changes that will throttle funding for future public lands projects in our state. I’m glad they listened. I look forward to continuing to work with Mainers to use the LWCF to protect and improve the public lands they use to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and more.”

DOI’s new order rolls back Trump Administration restrictions on the program that had kept conservation projects from moving forward across the country. The restrictions included, among many others, arbitrary geographic requirements regarding federal land acquisition and onerous limitations on the private property rights of landowners who want to conserve their land.

The newly-rescinded rules could have blocked LWCF projects like Riverfront Park in Houlton, Hosmer Field in Rumford, Lock Dam on the Allagash River, Knowlton Community Park in Ellsworth, and others. Congressman Golden and his colleagues’ successful effort means similar projects in Maine can move forward. Find a list of proposed LWCF projects across the state here.

Among the restrictions on LWCF being rolled back by the Biden Administration order are:

  • Limitations on the private property rights of landowners; 
  • Arbitrary geographic requirements regarding federal land acquisition funding, regardless of need/willing sellers in those or other areas; 
  • A near-total prohibition on further conservation and expansion of outdoor recreation within National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails administered by the Bureau of Land Management; and
  • The limitation of National Parks Service and Fish and Wildlife Service projects to those within existing boundaries as of November 9, 2020, blocking all conservation in newly-designated park and refuge areas.

Congressman Golden and his colleagues’ letter to the administration earlier this week can be found here.