On December 17, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) voted to advance the recently introduced America's Conservation Enhancement Act (S. 3051) out of Committee on a bipartisan voice vote.
In advance of the Committee's vote on S. 3051, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) sent a letter to the Committee in support of the bill. Additionally, CSF sent an alert to the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Members who serve on EPW urging their support for this bill.
The America's Conservation Enhancement Act was introduced by CSC Member and EPW Chairman John Barrasso as well as CSC Member and EPW Ranking Member Tom Carper on December 12. S. 3051 includes many provisions that will conserve fish and wildlife habitat, help combat wildlife disease, and increase public access for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor-dependent recreation. CSF is supportive of the entirety of S. 3051, but is particularly supportive of the following long-standing provisions for the sporting-conservation community:
- Establishing a task force within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help combat Chronic Wasting Disease under Section 104
- Authorizing $60 million annually through Fiscal Years 2021-2025 for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act under Section 106
- Exempting lead fishing tackle from the unwarranted purview of the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Environmental Protection Agency under Section 108
- Providing flexibility to State Wildlife Agencies to use hunter and recreational shooter generated funds for recruitment, retention, and reactivation efforts (R3) as provided by the Modernizing Pittman-Robertson for Tomorrow's Needs Act under Title II
- Congressionally authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership and $7.2 million annually through Fiscal Year 2019-2023 for on-the-ground, fish and aquatic habitat conservation under Title III
"The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation applauds EPW Committee Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper for introducing S. 3051, and the Committee as a whole for swiftly voting to pass this bill," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "By including provisions that authorize funding to some of our most important conservation programs, establishing innovative ways to combat wildlife diseases, and providing much needed flexibility to our nation's state wildlife agencies, the Committee continues to demonstrate their support of America's sportsmen and women."
S. 3051 now awaits further action in the Senate.
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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%)