In 1965, Congress forged a compact that has guided American offshore drilling policy for half a century. Through what is known as a conservation royalty, U.S. law requires that a portion of oil and gas companies’ revenues from drilling in the federally owned Outer Continental Shelf be invested in parks, open space, trails, and historic preservation projects across the country.
Today’s Congress—backed by nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars from the fossil fuels industry—is about to break that promise. On September 30, Congress is expected to allow the country’s single largest funding source for land, water, and wildlife conservation—known as the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF—to disappear. To pressure Congress to act and to save America’s best parks program, the Obama administration should delay its next offshore oil and gas lease sale until the LWCF is reauthorized and extended.
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