I was disappointed to read the wholly unfair Aug. 3 front-page headline describing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) stateside program as "pork barrel spending."

As passed by the House, the amendment added $30 million to the stateside LWCF for the first time since 1994. It was sponsored by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) and myself. The $30 million in our amendment was offset; that means we took the money from another existing program. There was no new spending.

The amendment cut $30 million from the Department of Energy's fossil fuel energy research and development program. That program is one that may be considered by some as "pork"; cutting $30 million from its proposed $360 million budget was a modest reduction

There is another important distinction -- the LWCF takes in $900 million each year from offshore oil drilling revenues with the specific, intended purpose of funding land acquisition and preservation. This year, however, federal land acquisition was given only $205 million. The other $695 million went to fund other programs or to help mask the true size of the deficit. If we are going to be honest with budgeting, the Land and Water Conservation Fund should be funded each and every year and should be taken off-budget, as transportation trust funds have been. That way, the money that goes into the fund is spent on its intended purpose.


U.S. Representative (R-Calif.)