Somebody Stole $19 Billion from U.S. Wildlife and Open Spaces

Arches National Park, Utah. (Photo: Jacob Frank/Getty Images)GR:  The U. S. Congress is willing to drop any protections that might threaten a developer’s opportunity to use the land. In Arizona, it appears that our state Game and Fish Department opposes national monuments because someday a developer might come up with a profitable use for the land.

strange behaviors

Arches National Park, Utah. (Photo: Jacob Frank/Getty Images) Arches National Park, Utah. (Photo: Jacob Frank/Getty Images)

My latest for Takepart:

Here’s a brilliant idea: Make oil and gas companies pay to conserve land for wildlife threatened by climate change. Crazy, right? But it’s already the law, and it has been for the last 50 years: In 1965, by a unanimous vote, Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund and declared that the government would spend $900 million a year to preserve open space, protect wildlife, and encourage outdoor recreation—all of it paid for with royalties from offshore oil and mineral extraction.

So why are our national parks falling to pieces? Why is it such a struggle to protect endangered species? Why is having someplace outdoors to play—someplace decent, I mean—a strange and dreamlike notion for most American children?

The sad reality is that Congress actually allocated only $306 million to LWCF in 2014…

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