November 17, 2015
The Honorable Rob Bishop The Honorable Raul Grijalva
Chairman Ranking Member
Committee on Natural Resources Committee on Natural Resources
U.S. House of Representatives U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
RE: The Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation Act (PARC)
Dear Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva,
The International Association of Geophysical Contractors (IAGC) strongly supports the Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation Act (PARC) and appreciates the introduction of this important legislation. The PARC Act reestablishes and enhances the original intent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and will strengthen conservation efforts by state and local entities.
IAGC is the international trade association representing the industry that provides geophysical services (geophysical data acquisition, processing and interpretation, geophysical information ownership and licensing, and associated services and product providers) to the oil and natural gas industry. IAGC member companies play an integral role in the successful exploration and development of offshore and onshore hydrocarbon resources through the acquisition and processing of geophysical data.
The LWCF was created in 1964 to “preserve, develop, and ensure access to outdoor recreation facilities to strengthen the health of U.S. citizens.” The original law stated that at least 60 percent of the funds be provided to the states, however, due to amendments and pressure from special interest groups, 62 percent of funding since 1964 has gone toward federal land acquisition. The LWCF has become a tool for various federal agencies to grow the federal estate, reducing state and local tax rolls and further adding to an estimated maintenance backlog for federal lands of
more than $18 billion.
In addition to making necessary updates to provide more funding to state and local governments and limiting federal land acquisition, the PARC Act adds focus to promoting offshore energy exploration, innovation, and education. IAGC applauds the recognition that LWCF, funded entirely through oil and gas royalties, is unsustainable without ensuring energy development opportunities in the United States.
The PARC Act will enable more efficient management of offshore activities by combining federal agency offices and allowing for greater coordination between agencies. The bill also focuses on expansion of new technologies and funding educational grants to universities for training future generations in energy development. These important provisions combine to ensure a stable funding source for LWCF for decades to come.
We understand that the simple thing for Congress to do is reauthorize the LWCF without change, however, this would be shortsighted and ignore the need for the necessary updates the PARC Act provides. IAGC supports modernizing the LWCF and applauds the proposed reforms in order to restore and enhance the program.
Nikki C. Martin
International Association of Geophysical Contractors
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