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Federal Conservation Fund Set To Expire

Chris Light at English Wikipedia

Advocates of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is set to expire in a month, admit it’s a federal program most people have never even heard of. But its expiration could have significant effects on conservation in Indiana.

Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1965, with money directed to both federal parks and state conservation efforts. In its 50 year history, Indiana has received $75 million from the fund. Indiana Parks Alliance Secretary Gerald Pagac says that money has helped acquire more than 30 thousand acres of land for public recreation and conservation in the Hoosier State.

“It actually spurred the creation of many park departments, especially county park departments around the state,” Pagac said. “We wouldn’t even have them, probably, if we didn’t have the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

Pagac notes the fund doesn’t even use taxpayer dollars.

“The source of funding for it was just a small portion of the offshore oil receipts that the federal government gets,” he said.

A bipartisan bill in Congress would reauthorize the program before it expires at the end of the September. But that legislation hasn’t yet cleared the Senate or the House.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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