WASHINGTON— U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that $61.6 million in revenues available through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) will be distributed to the 50 states, the Territories, and the District of Columbia 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 awarded through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America’s state and local public parks.
“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 state and local communities with new jobs and other economic benefits,” said Secretary Zinke.
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 Secretary Zinke. “Making this change in distribution gets these funds to states so they can start creating public outdoor recreation opportunities earlier.”
After this year, states will receive GOMESA revenues during the winter and traditional LWCF Appropriations during the spring months.
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. Using zero taxpayer dollars, the LWCF also invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to permanently conserve outdoor recreation areas for public use and enjoyment. The funds enable state and local governments to improve park and other recreation areas in their communities by rehabilitating and upgrading existing parks, creating brand new parks in places that have none, and developing and expanding trail systems that link communities to each other and to additional outdoor recreation opportunities.
The GOMESA was enacted by Congress in 2006 and directed certain Outer Continental Shelf revenues to be disbursed to the States through grants under the LWCF State and Local Assistance Program administered by the Department of the Interior and National Park Service.
Since the inception of the LWCF, over $4.2 billion has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 42,000 projects throughout the nation. The allocation for the State and Local Assistance Program is determined by a formula set in the LWCF Act. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/lwcf.
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior press release