By Mal Leary
Maine Public news story
Congress has until the end of September to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that has helped fund scores of projects in Maine.
The measure has the support of all four members of Maine’s delegation, and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree is hopeful that it will pass.
“It’s very widely supported by Republicans and Democrats,” she says. “It’s everything from acquisition of wild land, to public parks and bicycle trails.”
Pingree is concerned, however, about other issues that may dominate what little time Congress will have to finish its work in September. Maine has received over $180 million in LWCF funding over the past fifty years, helping to protect places such as Acadia National Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Grants to the state have supported hundreds of projects including Rangeley Lake State Park and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.
“There was a Republican attempt in the House to take the funding away, and that failed,” Pingree says. “So, that gave me a sense my Republican colleagues understand how important this is. If it doesn’t get reauthorized, it’s because of the dysfunction of the process.”