National Policy Update – September 2019 Beat
Congress returned from a month-long recess.
BHA hosted a fly-in to advocate for full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Some staff members traveled to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness and showcase how LWCF impacts your state. The staffers included Katie DeLorenzo, Russell Kuhlman, John Gale, Land Tawney, Alex Kim, Trey Curtiss, Kylie Schumacher, Josh Kaywood and Chris Hennessey.
While you did not travel to D.C., you can still do your part! Send a letter to your lawmaker asking them to support full and dedicated funding for LWCF.
Clean Water Act
The Environmental Protection Agency repeal of the 2015 Clean Water Rule was finalized on Sept. 18th. The rule, which is commonly referred to as the water of the United States (WOTUS) rule, clarified water resources definitions and safeguarded wetland and streams that are critical to fish and wildlife habitat.
BHA, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, Fly Fishers International, Izaak Walton League of America and American Fisheries Society joined together in opposing the administration’s rollback of the rule. The repeal leaves approximately 50 percent of wetlands and 60 percent of stream miles in our nation receptive to pollution.
Click here to learn more about the history of the rule and its importance to fish and wildlife habitat and the quality of our drinking water.
Lawmakers passed a continuing resolution (CR)—a stopgap funding package that keeps funding at currently enacted levels—that will keep the federal government open until Nov. 21st. This gives the Senate Appropriations Committee to draft legislation, reconcile with House versions and enact law.
In June, the House passed 10 of the 12 appropriations bills on the floor. The Senate Appropriations Committee is slowly following suit by passing topline —formally known as 302(b) allocations—funding levels.
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously passed FY2020 funding for the Department of the Interior and related agencies. The legislation included funding increases from conservation programs and language that promotes recreational access on public lands and a directive requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to collaborate with key state and federal agencies to ensure that their concerns are addressed through the scientific review process involving the proposed Pebble Mine permit in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Requiring the Army Corps to analyze science-based studies is one step closer to safeguarding Bristol Bay’s local economy and vibrant ecosystem from copper and gold mining.
BHA joined several other conservation organizations in condemning an administration directive that would exempt e-bikes from motorized vehicle restrictions.