Congress must seize conservation opportunity

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An unfortunate, and little noticed, casualty of the present political gridlock in Washington, D.C. is the protection of our nation’s outdoor recreational resources. Budgets for the operation and maintenance of America’s iconic National Park system have been slashed in the interest of balancing the federal budget and parks are only part of this tragedy. With so many of us relying on public lands for our quality of life and our livelihoods, ill-considered cuts to conservation programs only make hard times worse for most Americans.
One small ray of hope for breaking the Congressional gridlock is the Transportation Bill (S. 1813) that passed the U.S. Senate passed last month, with strong bi-partisan support. The bill authorized $700 million a year for the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. New Mexico Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, who understand the importance of conservation, voted for S. 1813.

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