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Interior secretary pledges $43M for conservation

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 8, 2014 at 6:20 pm •  Published: July 8, 2014
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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Tuesday that more than $43 million will be distributed from a federal fund for recreation and conservation projects nationwide, kicking off a weeklong campaign around the nation to support the fund's permanent renewal as Congress resumes.

Jewell joined Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other officials at Fort Worth's Gateway Park, partly built with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Texas is set to receive $2.5 million, Jewell said.

Offshore oil and gas royalties support the fund, which is scheduled to expire next year unless reauthorized by Congress. Less than half of the money paid into the U.S. Treasury each year from drilling activity on the outer continental shelf since 1964 has been allocated, Jewell said.

"We need to reauthorize this fund and fund it at its intended level without having to worry about year-to-year appropriation," Jewell said.

Price co-chairs the Mayors for Parks Coalition, backed by the Washington, D.C.-based City Parks Alliance, which represents dozens of mayors nationwide in lobbying Congress to release more federal funds for parks and open space.

Over 50 years, the fund has paid for more than 42,000 state and local parks, playgrounds, urban wildlife refuges, greenways, trails and open spaces. Federal funding is matched by state and local funding.

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