July 31, 2010
On July 30, the House voted to pass the CLEAR Act. Important to CWF is the full funding provision for the Land and Water Conservation Act. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was authorized in 1965, funded with offshore oil and gas revenue. Its purposes are to provide recreation access (parks and natural lands), and to protect important lands and waters. Over the years, Congress and various administrations have not authorized a substantial percentage of the full amount authorized annually and diverted the funds from their intended purpose. LWCF is the only account that provides a specific conservation benefit from federal energy development.
In addition, the House version of the CLEAR Act would eliminate the exemptions known as "categorical exclusions." These categorical exclusions exempted certain drilling sites from public health and environmental impacts. The House version also would repeal the exemption from the Clean Water Act protections during construction of oil and gas drilling pads.
The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the Act during the lame duck session after the elections.