Senate Committee Passes HELP for Wildlife Act
August 1, 2017
Editorial Staff (182 articles)
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Senate Committee Passes HELP for Wildlife Act

Bill passes with a 14-7 vote

On July 26, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) passed S.1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act (HELP for Wildlife Act), with a bipartisan vote of 14-7.

Before passing the bill, the EPW Committee voted to add three amendments to the HELP for Wildlife Act, including:

  • To authorize $15 million annually for fiscal years 2018-2022 for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center to conduct monitoring, assessments, and research of fisheries in the Great Lakes Basin;
  • To allow the importation of 41 polar bears legally harvested in Canada prior to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service import ban on May 15, 2008;
  • To allow land-grant universities to use land owned by the university to meet the in-kind cost share requirement under the Pittman-Robertson Act.

With passage out of committee, the bill can be scheduled for a floor vote in the Senate.

Bill would increase public access for sportsmen

In June, EPW Committee Chairman Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced the bill. This bipartisan legislation would increase public access for sportsmen and women, improve fish and wildlife habitat, and reauthorize funding for fish and wildlife conservation programs.

Other pro-sportsmen’s provisions in the bill would:

  • Reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) through fiscal years 2018 to 2022. This important program ensures the protection of millions of acres of wetland habitat spanning over all 50 states.
  • Ensure that normal agricultural practices are not misconstrued as attempts to bait migratory game birds.
  • Provide funding and support for the construction and expansion of public target shooting ranges on Bureau of Land Management lands and National Forests. Ensure that sportsmen and women have the proper infrastructure to participate safely in recreational shooting.
  • Reaffirm the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act in the Great Lakes and Wyoming, and returns the management of these populations to state wildlife agencies.
  • Ensure that traditional lead-based sport fishing equipment is exempt from the Toxic Substances Control Act.

—courtesy Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation

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