Is it me, or is Congress actually trying to work together and do good things after the shutdown fiasco? Do you think they got the message from the general public to stop acting like ‘unfrozen caveman lawyers’ and start acting like adults who are responsible?
“Ladies and gentleman of the jury….I am but a caveman.”
Yes …the Jury is still out.
Having said that, I have to point out two examples of where Congress is on the move to help us hunters and anglers.
Looks like there is some progress being made on finalizing the all important Farm Bill. A Conference Committee is currently meeting to hash out a deal. Not being cavalier here, but from what I can understand, looks like they are holding the line on re-linking conservation compliance back to crop insurance. Perhaps an agreement among House and Senate conferees can be made by the end of November that will send this on its way towards passage.
The other example is the introduction of the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions Act. Wow. A mouthful. Nice that we can simply call it the SPORT Act. This bill will reauthorize some of our nation’s most successful conservation programs that will help facilitate increased protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat across the country. Combined with other provisions that support recreational access and increased hunting and fishing opportunities not only here in the Great Lakes…but across the nation...this bill simply enhances and protects the places where we hunt and fish.
Even further info on the SPORT Act can be found by reading this great blog from my comrade out west…Senior El Johnny Ringo Spanish Fly Gale…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>By John Gale | 11.07.13
National Wildlife Federation’s has over four million members and supporters, including 1.8 million hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Today we applaud Senator Kay Hagan for introducing the Sportsmen’s and Public Outdoor Recreation Traditions (SPORT) Act.
The SPORT Act contains a number of bi-partisan proposals that will have a direct positive impact on hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. Of particular note, it exempts the Wildlife Restoration Trust and the Sport Fish Restoration & Boating Safety Trust Funds from sequestration so that critical fish and wildlife funding paid for by hunters and anglers are not held hostage by misguided political decisions. $50 million has already been sequestered from the Trust Funds in FY2013 and a bi-partisan group of Senators including Sen. Hagan, Sen. Pryor, Sen. Thune, and Sen. Risch, all leaders for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, recently sent a letterto the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging the release of these funds.
The proposal also contains two separate provisions that will require 1.5% of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to be used to provide public access to currently inaccessible federal public lands and expand public access for hunting and fishing.
Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski introduced S. 1335, the Sportsmen’s Act , drawing praise from sportsmen for including many of the same provisions now integrated in the SPORT Act like the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act that will allow the Secretary of the Interior to direct resources for the conservation of waterfowl species and improve sportsmen access.
Both packages include several important reauthorizations like the Federal Land Transaction and Facilitation Act (FLTFA), a program that allows land management agencies to work with private land owners to secure critical in-holdings through “land for land” swaps. This provision creates jobs and generates revenue for BLM, USFS, and USFWS. We appreciate that Senator Hagan’s reauthorization language makes this reauthorization permanent. Additionally, we are pleased to see reauthorizations in both packages for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) both of which leverage public and private conservation funding to secure resources for wetlands, migratory birds, and fish and wildlife habitat. NAWCA, a voluntary program, alone has protected or restored 26.5 million acres of wetlands over the last two decades and since its inception, NFWF has leveraged nearly $576 million in federal funds into $2 billion for on-the-ground and in-the-water conservation efforts.
According to a recent report, Valuing Our Western Public Lands, 6.1 million U.S. jobs are generated by sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts and our economy relies on the $646 billion that outdoor recreation activities like hunting and fishing contribute annually. Like hunting and fishing, our public lands legacy is a defining feature of our unique American heritage. We commend Senators Hagan and Murkowski for acknowledging the importance of our public lands, conservation partnerships with private land owners, defending our access and opportunities, and protecting the integrity of our children’s inheritance.
Congress now has an historic opportunity to work together as senators and representatives to advance a single bi-partisan suite of bills that not only serves the interests of over 40 million hunters and anglers in America that they represent, but prioritizes our obligation and commitment to sustaining robust populations of fish and wildlife, healthy landscapes, and clean abundant water resources.
We encourage the Senate and the House to collaborate in a meaningful way with the Administration and we look forward to advancing this effort together with our members and partners to put forth a thoughtful package of comprehensive legislation that is enacted by the president. We are compelled by our obligation as dutiful stewards for our country’s fish and wildlife and natural resources to ensure that future generations of hunters and anglers inherit the rights and traditions that have shaped our national character and nourish our outdoor spirit.