In another surprising update sure to please Westerners concerned about more federal land acquisitions, funding for The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been removed from the transportation bill, as The Hill reports.
The highway bill is meant to be about the infrastructure of the nation. Leaving the Land and Water Conservation Fund in a roadside ditch means we are not investing in our environmental infrastructure,” Wilderness Society Director of Legislative Policy David Moulton said in a statement.
“If anything, the LWCF is detracting from resources that could be applied to improving our infrastructure and transportation needs in order to buy more land,” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) said in a statement provided to The Hill last week.
Bishop added that the federal government is already struggling to maintain the land it already owns.
Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline fails to make it in the transportation bill, as Congressional negotiators ink a deal between the House and the Senate.
Bloomberg’s Jeff Plungis has this:
Members of a House-Senate conference committee reached a deal three days before the latest temporary extension of existing legislation expires. The final measure, which both chambers must approve, may come up for a Senate vote today “if the will is there,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
The deal came together after conferees dropped two Republican-backed provisions, one requiring approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast and another barring the federal government from regulating coal ash as hazardous waste, said Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, the senior Republican negotiating from the Senate.
The Keystone XL pipeline would be built, in part, through Montana. Keystone language was unable to be included in the final transportation bill despite the fact that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) serves as the chairman of the powerful US Senate Finance Committee, and as a conferee on the transportation bill negotiations.
Was that the best that the conference committee could do at this point? Does Sen. Baucus wish there was something else in there like Keystone? Those were just some of the questions posed by Jackie Yamanaka with Yellowstone Public Radio during a Thursday afternoon conference call with Sen. Baucus and reporters following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obamacare case.
“I strongly favor Keystone. Am I disappointed? Yes, I’m disappointed, but we got a highway bill,” added Baucus. “A highway bill absent Keystone is better than no highway bill at all. Because basically it all comes down to jobs. Keystone would provide more jobs for Montana, it helps make us more energy sufficient. It’s a no brainer. It should be in there, but its not, so I’ll keep fighting for it.”