Interior Secretary Jewell touts conservation fund in Montana
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN, Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is using the scenic backdrop of Montana's Hauser Lake to urge Congress to permanently reauthorize a key funding source for the country's parks and recreation system.
Federal officials cobbled together a temporary extension until Congress can agree on reinstating money from oil and gas royalties for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The U.S. Senate moved to reinstate funding, but the House is not yet on board.
Montana Republicans invited Jewell to visit communities they say could be devastated by a prolonged moratorium on new coal leases, but the secretary said it was not part of her itinerary this time.
She says the moratorium won't harm the state's economy because current leases provide ample reserves that won't disrupt the coal industry's viability for at least two decades.