January 13, 2019 (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - On January 9, the Senate passed S. 3051, the America's Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, by amending the bill into H.R. 925, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act, which passed the House in late November.
The language contained in the ACE Act, which was introduced on December 12 and passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) on December 17, was offered as a floor amendment to H.R. 925, where it passed the chamber on a bipartisan voice vote. Prior to the bill passing the Committee, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) sent a statement for the record to Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Members who serve on EPW in strong support of the bill.
The bill as passed out of the Senate contains a number of long-standing priorities for CSF including:
- Sec. 102 - Losses of livestock due to depredation by federally protected species: Establishment of a grant program to compensate livestock producers for loss of livestock due to federally protected species such as wolves and grizzly bears as the cost of losses that occur threaten the margins that keep producers in business. $15 million is authorized for Fiscal Years 2021 - 2025 for the grant program.
- Sec. 104 - Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force: Establishing a task force within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help combat Chronic Wasting Disease.
- Sec. 106 - North American Wetlands Conservation Act: Authorizes $60 million annually through Fiscal Years 2021-2025 for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
- Sec 108 - Modification of definition of sport fishing equipment under Toxic Substances Control Act: Exempts lead fishing tackle from the unwarranted purview of the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Title II - National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships: Congressionally authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership and authorizes $7.2 million annually through Fiscal Year 2021-2025 for on-the-ground, fish and aquatic habitat conservation under Title III.
"CSF applauds CSC Members EPW Committee Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper for their bipartisan leadership in introducing S. 3051, and for securing the passage of the ACE Act as part of H.R. 925," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "The leadership of Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper to swiftly move this bill out of EPW and out of the Senate demonstrates their firm commitment to America's sportsmen and women. CSF looks forward to working with House CSC Members to advance H.R. 925 to the President's desk to be signed into law."
H.R. 925 now awaits to be scheduled by House Leadership for a floor vote.
Please note: Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow's Needs Act, another top priority for the CSF, was included in the ACE Act as introduced and passed out of EPW, but this provision was removed after it was signed into law as part of FY20 funding agreement.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (10.81%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (13.81%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (62.46%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (12.91%)