Legislative Update - January 2020
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
HR925 the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act
The U.S. Senate Committee recently advanced HR925 the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.). The ACE Act includes multiple hunting, fishing and conservation priorities, including the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act, intended to help state wildlife agencies mitigate declining hunting participation by providing the flexibility to use some Pittman-Robertson funds allocated to hunter education for marketing and recruitment efforts. Hunters and recreational shooters fund state wildlife conservation efforts via the Pittman-Robertson Fund through federal excise taxes distributed to state wildlife agencies, but as hunting participation drops, so does wildlife funding.
In addition, the ACE Act will:
- Authorize take permits for vultures or ravens to livestock producers experiencing depredation problems;
- Establish a CWD task force to develop an interstate action plan and commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the pathways and mechanisms of the transmission of CWD in the United States;
- Reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act until 2025;
- Encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation;
- Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2025;
- Reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2025;
- Establish a program to provide grants to states and Indian tribes to compensate livestock producers for losses due to predation by federally protected species such as wolves or grizzly bears;
- Establish a Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize for technological innovation to reduce human-predator conflict using non-lethal means.
Congress to look at new bird protection bill - the Migratory Bird Protection Act ( MBPA)
For more than a century, low-cost laws have protected migratory birds all over the United States from oil spills, oil waste pits, communication towers and power line deaths. In 2017, the current federal administration issued a legal opinion on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918 that reversed the position of previous republican and democratic administrations giving a "free pass' for bird killing from industrial hazards, also known as "incidental take." This new bill will require industry to take proactive measures to reduce bird deaths. The new legislation will direct the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a permitting process for "incidental take" through which businesses would implement the best management practices and document compliance which will encourage innovation to prevent bird deaths.
We have lost three billion birds in the last 50 years. The National Audubon Society states that two-thirds of North American species are at risk for extinction due to climate change. This new bill will reaffirm current laws which will give incentives to businesses who create innovative protection for birds. If passed, the MBPA would establish a new fee paid by industry to defend migratory birds. Please contact your state representative to support the critically needed bill!