Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Congress's $12-Billion Nod to Conservation ; the Bill Provides an 'Extraordinary' Boost for Parks and Nature

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Congress's $12-Billion Nod to Conservation ; the Bill Provides an 'Extraordinary' Boost for Parks and Nature

Article excerpt

It can pay for the restoration of an art-deco theater in Miami Beach, for the upkeep of the trails and lodges throughout the national park system, or for the recovery of salmon on the West Coast.

It's the $12 billion land-conservation fund, and it is considered by many experts to be one of the most comprehensive conservation programs in the history of the United States.

The bill, which passed the House handily Tuesday and enjoys White House support, would double spending on natural and historic preservation next year and more than triple it in five years. As of press time, it had not passed the Senate, but approval was expected soon.

Such a monetary commitment by Congress represents the largest budgetary increase ever in American conservation - driven by the elections, but also the public's concern with sprawl and deteriorating parks.

"This is an issue whose time has come," says Mary Beth Beetham, director of legislative affairs for Defenders of Wildlife. She echoes lawmakers as well as President Clinton when she describes the program as "incredibly significant."

The land conservation fund would double current spending to $1.6 billion in fiscal 2001, and reach $2.4 billion in 2006. The money could not, as in years past, be siphoned off for other programs. Any unused funds would be carried into the next year.

What distinguishes the fund - apart from its size - is its remarkable reach. It provides grants for local and regional projects in virtually every setting - urban parks, national forest, coastal areas, and so on.

It also gives the federal government more money to purchase land, such as Civil War battlefields or wildlife habitat. Coastal and wetlands restoration is covered, and so are neighborhood parks and historic sites. Roughly two-thirds of the money would go to states, cities and communities. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.