In a tricky way to leverage a lot of conservation dollars Ken Salazar has teamed up with mega gazillionaire Louis Bacon who if you don't remember gave the US Govt the largest gift of private land from an individual that we've ever received.
The good part isn't just that the PAC has a generous person to finance it, after all ALEC and the Koch brothers also have lots of money, what's tricky is that Ken and Mr. Bacon are targeting the $20 billion dollars that has been "borrowed" and diverted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In other words if you are a legislator, and you support full funding of the Land Water Fund, you get some moolah. As it now stands we'd be able to put $900 million per year back into the fund.
I'll assume you don't know what the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is, it's manna from heaven. In a deal struck long ago big oil pays to drill off shore. The money goes to a fund to promote mostly land conservation but congress has always been stealing the money and using it elsewhere, and we want that money.
Twenty billion is a lot of money for conservation. Right now we are dependent on taxes on amo and duck stamps to buy pieces of land here and there. We could really really use that money. It's ours, it was part of a deal. One thought I've heard batted around was to use the $ to gain access to all the land locked pieces of federal land scattered around the west. Conservation money is measured in millions, not billions. This is a huge amount of money.
Estimates are that there are four million acres that are not accessible due to either being surrounded or due to checker boarding which amounts to the same thing. I'd like to be able to get to these pieces of land, and I'd like you to too.
I don't know what restrictions there are on the land and water conservation fund. I'd also just like to see National Forests more accessible. Half the time I have trouble getting at a piece of land because the road has no places to pull off to park.
A lot of people know very little about Ken Salazar. A middle of the road kind of senator, he used to drive many to no end of distraction trying to make friends with Republicans in this gang of eight or the that bipartisan committee to do nothing. And then when he became Sec of Interior the howling could be heard all the way from the Marin Chapter of the Sierra club to the DC offices of Defenders of Big Time Lobbying for Certain Kinds of Wildlife. Music to my ears truth be told. Now that Ken Salazar has the time and the inclination it's possible he could continue to do a lot of good.
Above Jon Tester is a Democratic Senator from Montana, Randy Newberg is a Montana Conservationist who sits on the Board of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). The RMEF is famous for buying crucial pieces of habitat and giving them to the people of the US to become part of a larger piece of National Forest, BLM, or Wilderness.
I'm hopeful that with a little bit of money pushing this thing via our legal corruption of political PACs something might possibly get done.
Update: Thanks for the spotlight, I'm hoping this helps to shine a light on the Land and Water Conservation Fund. As noted in the comments Loise Bacon the very wealthy donor behind this PAC gave generously to Republican (and less generously to Democratic) candidates in 2012. He also donated a 90,000 very prime acres to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a gift that dwarfs his political contributions when measured in pure dollar terms. Lets hope that Democrats receive his largess in it's entirety. You too could help by calling your legislators no matter if they are blue or red and asking them to Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The money comes from the oil companies.
Headed out to pour concrete while the temps are warm, will be away for a while.