Critics say new fed rules could cripple program that protects AZ land

By Henry Brean | Tucson Daily Star

Environmentalists are accusing the outgoing Trump administration of trying to sabotage a key conservation program that has helped protect sensitive land in Southern Arizona and across the country.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a 55-year-old initiative that uses federal royalties from offshore oil and natural-gas production to pay for a wide array of recreation projects and preservation work, from the construction of local ballfields to the expansion of national parks.

Congress permanently reauthorized the landmark program in 2019 and voted earlier this year to fully fund it at $900 million annually as part of the bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act, which also set aside $9.5 billion to address the National Park Service’s growing maintenance backlog.

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