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SPOTLIGHT

1. CONSERVATION

Some Republicans vote to cut LWCF -- but quietly ask for the money

In February 2011, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-Va.) voted for an amendment by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) to slash funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 90 percent in the House's spending bill. But the next year, Hurt urged the Forest Service to use LWCF money to acquire a 292-acre tract of privately owned forest in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, a proposal he said was strongly backed by hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Over the past five years, Hurt and more than a dozen other Republicans have privately lobbied federal land management agencies to support LWCF projects in their districts, according to a records request to the agencies from Greenwire. It's a break from conventional GOP wisdom that land acquisitions and other conservation spending are an unnecessary luxury for a nation mired in $17 trillion in debt.

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