Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced that $25,000 in revenues available through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will be distributed to American Samoa for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants that support outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
These funds, which are made up of non-taxpayer dollars from Outer Continental Shelf lease revenues, are part of $61.6 million being awarded to the 50 states, the Territories, and the District of Columbia.
The funds come through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America’s state and local public parks.
Zinke said, “I believe the Land and Water Conservation Fund State and Local Assistance Program demonstrates how we can work together to improve and expand access to public outdoor recreation opportunities, modernize our country’s park and recreation infrastructure, and support American Samoa communities with new jobs and other economic benefits” .
This year’s distribution of GOMESA revenues is a significant increase from past years with this level of funding expected to continue into the future.
Moving forward, Interior will distribute these funds ahead of the traditional annual LWCF Appropriations.
“This is a great state-federal partnership that benefits all citizens,” said Zinke. “Making this change in distribution gets these funds to states so they can start creating public outdoor recreation opportunities earlier.”
The LWCF was established by Congress in 1965 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land and water for the benefit of all Americans.