The Senate and House were in session most of the month before leaving Washington, D.C., for a one-week recess until May 10.
Rebuilding our economy and investing in transportation and infrastructure is the hot topic in D.C. Many lawmakers and administrative officials are negotiating what a broad infrastructure package will consist of, and BHA is providing recommendations that enhance hunter and angler access on our public lands and waters and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
BLM Director Nomination
Last Friday, President Biden nominated Tracy Stone-Manning as director for the Bureau of Land Management. Tracy is a qualified candidate with a resume that includes director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, chief of staff to former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and associate vice president of public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. We’ve worked closely with Tracy on many shared public lands priorities including Greater sage-grouse and conservation of sagebrush country. We know her well and she possesses the perfect balance of political maneuverability and policy expertise.
BHA put out a press release in support of her nomination.
The administration released a high-level, fiscal year 2022 budget proposal. This is commonly referred to as the “skinny” budget. The proposal requests $17.4 billion for the Department of the Interior and $27.8 billion for the Department of Agriculture. Both funding levels would be a 16 percent increase from FY21 enacted levels. Other funding request include the following:
- $450 million in discretionary spending for Interior, more than double the 2021 enacted discretionary level, to remediate many of the thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells and reclaim abandoned mines on public lands and elsewhere.
- $550 million over FY21 enacted levels to decrease pollution on Interior’s public land management agencies’ landscapes and waterways and expand efforts around climate adaptation and ecosystem resilience.
- An additional $200 million for science-driven conservation to align management of the nation’s natural resources with U.S. climate, biodiversity and clean energy needs.
- $340 million to Interior for hazardous fuels management and burned area rehabilitation projects. This funding would support efforts at both Interior and the Forest Service to manage vegetation and reduce the intensity, severity and negative effects of wildfire and is consistent with the administration’s science-based approach to risk mitigation.
Appropriators are now wanting to hear from the administration about specifics. Senate and House appropriations subcommittees held and continue to hold hearings to discuss the administration’s FY22 budget proposal. We expect the administration to release a full FY22 budget proposal later this spring.
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) reintroduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773). H.R. 2773 would dedicate $1.4 billion to state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies to help prevent at-risk species from being added to the federal list of threatened and endangered species.
Join us in urging your representative to support the legislation. This is one of BHA’s top policy priorities.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Boundary Waters Wilderness Protection and Pollution Prevention Act (H.R. 2794). H.R. 2794 would permanently protect 234,328 acres of public land and water upstream of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from nickel-copper mining.
Learn more about America’s most visited wilderness and encourage your representative to support the legislation.
Legacy Roads and Trails
Reps. Kim Schrier (D-WA), Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Legacy Roads and Trails Act (H.R. 2816). H.R. 2816 would establish the U.S. Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails (LRT) Remediation program at $100 million annually through fiscal year 2030. This program was unfortunately defunded in 2018. LRT-funded projects have contributed to maintaining thousands of miles of roads, reclaiming thousands of miles of unneeded roads, replacing over one thousand culverts to restore fish passage and improving over five thousand miles of trails.
BHA supports this legislation and is working to get the Senate version introduced and to include LRT as a line item in fiscal year 2022 appropriations. You can find our partner letter of support here.