U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard say Indiana will gain big if Congress re-authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Jewell met with Brainard and toured Carmel area parks Thursday.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the fund. However, it expires at the end of 2015, and Jewell says President Obama is calling for reauthorization of full funding to the tune of $900 million a year.
Jewell says Congress has only been authorizing about $300 million a year.
Fund dollars go toward city, state and federal parks across the nation and come from offshore oil and gas drilling revenues and not taxpayer money. Indiana‘s latest share is $850,000.
Brainard says parks and conservation should remain a non-partisan issue.
“It’s important for future generations that we have funding to put aside green space, natural areas,” he says. “We have a huge increase in population in this country.”
Brainard says Carmel has greatly benefited in part from the fund. He says green space in Carmel has grown from 40 acres to 1,000 acres.