National Policy Updates

The Senate and House were in session most of the month before members left Washington, D.C., for a two-week recess. They will return on April 12.

Since enacting the COVID-19 relief package, lawmakers are holding hearings to discuss another administrative priority: an economic stimulus or infrastructure package.

MAPLand Act

Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) reintroduced the Modernizing Access to Our Public Land (MAPLand) Act. The legislation would provide public land management agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation and Corps of Engineers, funding to modernize map records from paper to a standard, online database.

Currently, more than 16.4 million acres of public lands are landlocked—surrounded by private lands—and inaccessible across the United States. The MAPLand Act would require public land management agencies to collect data on accessible public lands so that this information can be made available to hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists. This new wealth of information would allow hunters and anglers to discover new opportunities on our public lands and waters all while boosting the nation’s annual $842.2 billion outdoor recreation economy.

Our partners at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership have led the reintroduction, and we thank them for it. Join our collaborative efforts and encourage your senators to support the MAPLand Act.

Haaland and Regan

Senators confirmed many of President Biden’s cabinet nominees this month, including Deb Haaland as secretary of the Department of the Interior and Michael Regan as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Regan was confirmed with a 66-34 vote and Haaland was confirmed with a 51-40 vote.

BHA supports Haaland and Regan and looks forward to establishing a working relationships with them and other Interior and EPA officials. This is critical to advancing our conservation policy priorities—just as important as developing meaningful relationships with members of Congress. Diplomacy and the development of working relationships do not come at the expense of accountability, however, and our support of nominated positions in the past, present and future will not preclude us from applauding good decisions and criticizing those that undermine conservation values, erode our outdoor traditions or threaten the integrity of science-based management.

Salmon, Dams and the Northwest in Transition

On March 18, Ryan Callaghan, a member of BHA’s North American Board of Directors and director of conservation for MeatEater, moderated a deep-dive discussion on Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-ID) comprehensive proposal to restore salmon and steelhead populations in the Snake River. Callaghan was joined by BHA and our partners at Idaho Wildlife Federation, Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association and Trout Unlimited.

Click here to watch the recording and click here to join our efforts in encouraging our elected officials to be part of the conversation.