I was pleased to read your Aug. 25 editorial regarding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal account used to purchase environmentally sensitive lands, especially lands for our national park system. Congress established the LWCF in 1964 to give Americans something in return for the commercial depletion of publicly owned oil resources. Each year, $900 million is directed to the LWCF from revenues generated by federal offshore oil leases. Unfortunately, in recent years Congress has chosen to use the majority of this $900 million to offset the federal budget deficit, spending only a small portion of the LWCF's revenues to acquire and preserve our nation's most beautiful lands.
We should restore the LWCF to its intended level of spending. I achieved passage of the Sherman amendment to the 1998 budget resolution package, which allows the House and Senate Appropriations committees to add the additional money for land acquisition. The Senate appropriated the funds. The House Appropriations Committee has balked. I hope that your editorial and similar efforts to increase public awareness of the LWCF will inspire my colleagues in the House to honor their commitment to use the fund's revenues to buy parkland here in the Santa Monica Mountains and elsewhere.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN