By Derek Draplin, The Center Square

The U.S. Department of Interior announced over $170 million in grants funded without taxpayer dollars will be distributed to state parks and outdoor recreation projects in all 50 states.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said that $170,623,713 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will be implemented by the National Park Service.

The grants aren’t funded by taxpayer dollars since the LWCF is funded by revenue generated from offshore oil and gas leasing.

Montana will receive $1,611,602.

“Using zero taxpayer dollars, LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help rehabilitate and improve infrastructure at state and local parks and other recreation areas,” Bernhardt said. “Funds will also be used to maximize access by opening up landlocked public lands. A small investment in a little strip of land can open up thousands of acres to outdoor recreation enthusiasts.” 

LWCF, which was passed by Congress in 1964, was permanently reauthorized by Congress earlier this year.

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, a trade group representing the oil and gas industry, noted that oil and natural gas development is the sole source of funding for LWCF.

“The industry is a strong environmental partner across the West, both through countless private donations to conservation groups and initiatives as well as direct on-the-ground conservation work,” Sgamma said.

The states allocated the most money are California ($14,564,940), Texas ($9,746,191), New York ($7,941,700), Florida ($7,869,846), Illinois ($5,726,425), and Pennsylvania ($5,430,820).

Of western states, Washington received $3,577,901, Arizona received $3,541,391, Colorado received $3,034,579, and Nevada received $2,292,912.


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