Historic public lands package benefits Northern Ohio

The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act, a bipartisan conservation and public lands package, passed the U.S. House overwhelmingly by a vote of 363-62, including permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The LWCF designates approximately 1.3 million acres of wilderness, 693,000 acres of recreation and conservation areas, and two mineral withdrawal areas totaling 370,000 acres, protecting nearly 2.4 million acres of public lands from future mining operations.

In Ottawa County the LWCF has completed 16 projects at the cost of $9,932,850 from 1967 to 2010. The last project was completed in 2012. The bill expands the funding authorization of the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway, which traverses four counties with 101 miles of towpath trails, 110 miles of scenic roadway, and ends at Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland.

“Passing this legislation is a huge win for Ohio and for the entire Great Lakes region,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “It is particularly fitting that the bill, named for my close friend John Dingell, Jr., a legislative titan and one of America’s great conservationists, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. This legislation protects and expands our treasured public lands and natural resources while moving us away from short-term environmental thinking and toward a modern conservation system Americans deserve.

“Thanks to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Ottawa Wildlife Refuge, the Cuyahoga National Park and countless other sites across northern Ohio are open to all Americans – and now the Fund can continue helping communities around the country meet their potential.”

The LWCF, which has funded 42,000 projects across the country, bringing tremendous economic benefits and returns on investment since it was established in 1965, has expired twice in recent years. By reauthorizing the LWCF, this legislation removes it from future political consideration and prevents any future expirations.

action to combat climate change, advance clean water protections, and promote clean energy.”

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