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Senators and Representatives Rally Support for LWCF State Assistance

From National Recreation and Park Association

Call Today and Ask your Legislators to Sign-on "Dear Colleague" Letters

What's Happening:

Members of Congress are circulating "Dear Colleague" letters in the House and the Senate urging members of Congress to join in support for funding the LWCF state assistance program at $125 million for FY 2009. The President has proposed to terminate this successful partnership program administered by the National Park Service which provides 50/50 matching grants to help communities acquire local and state parks and develop outdoor recreation resources. A similar effort by Congress last year saved the program from termination and the resulting $24.6 million allowed for grants to aid over 300 state and local park and recreation projects across the nation.

What Needs to be Done:

We need your help again to stop this threat of termination and restore adequate funding the to the LWCF state assistance program!

NRPA along with a number of other national organizations is rallying support among U.S. Senators and Representatives to sign-on to "Dear Colleague" letters requesting Congress to include an appropriation of $125 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance FY 2009. These letters will be directed to the respective House and Senate Subcommittees on Interior Appropriations.

Who's Doing It:

In the House, Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) sponsored a letter requesting $125 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance. 42 Representatives have signed on to date. Is your Representative signed on? Check the list, and if not, please make the call today. Every single member is needed. The House letter closes March 14.

The House letter can viewed by clicking the following link: http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=6951

The House co-signers are the following Representatives:

Baldwin (D-WI), Boswell (D-IA), Capito (R-WV), Capuano (D-MA), Christensen (D-VI), DeFazio (D-OR), Delahunt (D-MA), DeLauro (D-CT), Doyle (D-PA), Fortuno (R-PR), Gilchrest (R-MD), Gordon (D-TN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Hirono (D-HI), Jim Moran (D-VA), Kildee (D-MI), Kind (D-WI), Kucinich (D-OH), Larsen (D-WA), Levin (D-MI), Maloney (D-NY), Markey (D-MA), Matheson (D-UT), McDermott (D-WA), Meek (D-FL), Michaud (D-ME), Miller (D-CA), Moore ((D-KS), Murphy ((D-CT), Nadler (D-NY), Oberstar (D-MN), Pallone (D-NJ), Payne (D-NJ), Price (D-NC), Renzi (R-AZ), Schwartz (D-PA, Shays, Shea-Porter (D-NH), Skelton (D-MO), Snyder (D-AR), Sutton (D-OH), Wu (D-OR)

In the Senate, Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have just announced that they are co-sponsoring the effort to save the LWCF state assistance program in the Senate, and have co-signed a letter that also requests $125 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance for FY 2009 budget. The Senate Dear Colleague letter will be open till early April.

To view the Senate letter click the following link: http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.aspx?documentId=6959

What You Can Do: Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for the phone numbers of your 2 Senators and your Representative. When connected, tell them who you are and where you are calling from. Ask to speak to the staff person that handles Interior Appropriations. Tell them you are a constituent and an advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund state assistance program and ask them to have your legislator sign-on to the "Dear Colleague" letter requesting $125 million in funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance for FY 2009 budget. Please call all three of your U.S. legislators&emdash;your Representative and both of your Senators.

To explain why they should support your request, use these key points

* You oppose the President's proposal to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund State Assistance program from the federal budget in FY 2007 because this is a valuable program that has produced many positive results in your state and your community.

* If you know what LWCF State Assistance has done for your community, tell which parks and recreation resources it has aided, and what a positive impact this has had in your district. (You can find projects in your county by going to http://www.nps.gov/lwcf/ )

* The LWCF state/local program matches funds 50/50 to assist in parks and recreation to create new public parks and develop public recreation resources. Local and state governments match the federal investment dollar for dollar, and often, many times more. Local communities agree to protect the parks in perpetuity and make them open for recreation and public access.

* These funds help to develop sports fields, neighborhood parks, and community gathering places.

* The LWCF state assistance program is one of the most successful Federal, State, and Local cooperative conservation partnerships in the history of the Dept. of Interior.

* LWCF State Assistance is funded through revenue from Outer Continental Shelf energy extraction receipts, estimated at $5.6 billion for FY 2007. The program reinvests these funds into parks, recreation, and conservation efforts. These royalty payments also fund the federal side of LWCF.

* LWCF serves a vital national need-- the need to get the American public active and healthy, which they can best do by recreating at close-to-home recreation facilities and parks aided by the LWCF State Assistance.

* In the 43 year life of the LWCF, nearly 41,000 local and state projects have been completed. Virtually every one of these recreation resources is still in existence today.

If you are unsure who your U.S. legislators are you can type in your zip code at www.congress.org or ask the just ask the Capitol Switchboard operator at 202-224-3121.

Please call your Representative and Senators today at 202-224-3121. The House letter will be circulating until Next Friday, 3/14/08, but may be extended; the Senate letter will circulate longer.

The National Recreation and Park Association annually prepares a list of national legislative and advocacy priorities in support of parks and recreation at all levels, from the local to the national. Annual priorities are identified after a careful analysis of the President's proposed budget, and in coordination with the NRPA Public Policy Committee with consideration of emerging trends in parks and recreation. The NRPA legislative and advocacy platform supports a national agenda for public parks and recreation in America that seeks to ensure appropriate matching federal investments in local, regional and state parks and recreation resources; national policies that encourage close-to-home access to parks and recreation for all Americans; and national legislation that enables parks and recreation at all levels to promote active lifestyles and healthy behavior by all Americans.

For further assistance please contact Michael Phillips (mphillips@nrpa.org), or Becky Webb-Morser (bwebbmorser@nrpa.org) at NRPA Public Policy, or call 202-887-0290.

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