American Samoa is receiving $75,013 out of the nearly $95 million distributed from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia to support conservation and recreation projects in local communities.
The funds, which are generated out of a portion of the lease revenue from offshore oil and gas development, support state-identified and community-supported projects that create jobs, contribute to local economies and grow outdoor recreational opportunities in virtually every county across the country.
American Samoa’s funding is awarded to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
US Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell said, “This highly successful national program has set aside local green spaces, built neighborhood baseball fields and boat docks, preserved some of our most hallowed grounds, and provided funding to construct and maintain trails and access points for many of our public lands and waters.
“While Congress temporarily reauthorized the successful 50-year program, President Obama and his Administration have asked for full, dedicated funding and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, investing a small portion of revenue from oil and gas extraction back into our lands and waters for the benefit and enjoyment of all Americans, now and for future generations.”
Only once in the past 50 years has Congress appropriated LWCF funding at the fully authorized level of $900 million. President Obama’s 2017 budget request includes a legislative proposal to establish mandatory funding for LWCF programs, with full funding at $900 million.
On September 30, 2015, the date Congress allowed the Fund to expire temporarily for several months, Jewell urged Congress to reauthorize the LWCF and to pass President Obama’s proposal to guarantee permanent full funding of $900 million a year that Congress authorized under the original law. Congress provided a short-term renewal of three years for LWCF in the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act.
Chronic uncertainty and underfunding have made it increasingly challenging for local, state and federal partners to use this important conservation tool.