Annual appropriations for fiscal year 2022 and all things infrastructure were on the docket for lawmakers this month.
America the Beautiful
The Biden administration released its America the Beautiful plan to reflect the president’s executive order on conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The report adds substance and detailed strategy to these goals, providing a blueprint for subsequent action by the administration and others.
The administration listened to hunter and angler voices, as well as other stakeholders who expressed concerns with the plan. BHA supports this framework. Read the full report here.
USFWS Refuge Expansion Proposal
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed expanding public hunting and fishing opportunities within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The increases would enhance public access to 2.1 million acres, encompassing 90 national wildlife refuges and one national fish hatchery. BHA applauded this announcement.
If you are interested in submitting a comment to the Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our action center. The comment period ends on July 6.
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.
The Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife, a coalition made up of BHA and many partner groups, sent a letter encouraging representatives to cosponsor H.R. 2773. The letter has 355 signatures with 34 BHA chapters and collegiate clubs joining. Well done! Please share with your chapter leaders and fellow students.
To continue this momentum and further our efforts, please join us in urging your representative to support the legislation.
Two landscape priority bills were recently reintroduced this Congress, including Sen. Jon Tester’s (D-MT) Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act (S. 1493) and Sen. Alex Padilla’s (D-CA) Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act (S. 1459).
The Blackfoot Clearwater Stewardship Act is the product of more than a decade of collaborative work between ranchers, timber harvesters, communities and recreational groups like hunters, anglers, mountain bikers and snowmobilers. The legislation would conserve 79,060 acres of wildlife habitat in the Bob Marshall, Mission Mountains and Scapegoat wilderness areas and require the Forest Service to conduct forest health assessments to help identify new timber projects on the landscape.
The PUBLIC Lands Act incorporates three bills recently included and passed by the House in Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act (H.R. 803). These measures include the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act and the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act. The legislation would provide permanent protections for fish and wildlife habitat and creates greater certainty for the future of America’s outdoor traditions and our wild public lands and waters.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leadership unanimously passed a bipartisan bill, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act (commonly referenced as the Highway Bill).
BHA strongly supports this legislation, including a wildlife crossing pilot program provision that we supported last Congress. The wildlife crossing pilot program provision would establish a five-year, $350 million program designed to reduce collisions and improve habitat connectivity for fish and wildlife based on the science and success of similar projects in other parts of the country.
BHA's West Virginia chapter helped sway Sen. Capito (R-WV) to include the wildlife crossing provision in the legislation. Thanks to the chapter for stepping up!
Trout Unlimited Government Affairs Director Kate Miller, BLM Deputy Director of Policy and Programs Nada Culver, and others testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act (PLREDA). PLREDA proactively seeks to responsibly site solar, wind and geothermal energy development on our public lands and prioritize considerations for fish and wildlife habitat that avoid and mitigate impacts upfront. By being practical and foresighted, the hunting, fishing and conservation communities can help avoid devastating impacts to fish and wildlife habitat and our outdoor pursuits.
BHA, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and others submitted a letter of support to the committee’s record.