WASHINGTON, DC – The Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife is excited to see introduction of the Recovering America’s WildlifeAct (S.3223) in the United States Senate today. Senators James Risch (R-ID) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) along with their colleagues Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced bipartisan legislation that recommends funding for conservation of those fish and wildlife species in greatest need across the country.
S.3223 recommends that Congress authorize $1.3 billion annually from energy development on federal lands and waters to the existing Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program to conserve the full array of fish and wildlife. This solution, proposed initially by leaders of the energy, outdoor recreation retail, manufacturing, and automotive sectors and well as sportsmen’s/women’s and other conservation groups is complementary to existing natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs and will not requiretaxpayers or businesses to pay more, but instead allows all Americans to become investors in fish and wildlife conservation.
The Senate bill complements the House version (H.R. 4647), introduced in December 2017 by Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), which has gained strong, bipartisan co-sponsorship due to its innovative approach to solving America’s wildlife crisis, with the current list of co-sponsors growing to over 75 members.
“This legislation puts states back in control of conservation efforts and affords them greater flexibility to meet their state-specific needs, while also protecting the legacy of hunting and the value the industry brings to wildlife conservation,” said Senator Risch, Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus. “Additionally, by engaging in these proactive, voluntary conservation actions, we will save millions of tax dollars that are otherwise spent on restoring threatened and endangered species.”
“In West Virginia hunting, fishing and outdoor activities are family traditions deeply ingrained in who we are as a state. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will ensure we continue to promote our state’s unique wildlife and preserve our rich outdoor traditions. That’s why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to make West Virginia ever more wild and wonderful,” Senator Manchin said.
“Our nation’s fish and wildlife are the foundation of our natural heritage, held in the public trust for all to enjoy, and cared for by the state fish and wildlife agencies. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would help all species — including many that are hunted and fished and those that are not— continue to thrive,” stated Virgil Moore, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “We applaud Senator Risch from my home state of Idaho and Senator Manchin of West Virginia for their leadership on this important legislation that will help management and conservation of fish and wildlife, and bolster our great outdoor recreation economy.”
“The Blue Ribbon Panel recommended a proactive approach to conservation funding,” said Greg Hill, President and Chief Operating Officer, Hess Corporation. “The funding model that forms the basis for this legislation is better for taxpayers and businesses and, most importantly, better for the long-term conservation of fish and wildlife species in danger.”
“We applaud the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leaders Senators Risch, Manchin, and Heitkamp, as well as Caucus Member Senator Alexander for introducing this important piece of legislation,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “America’s hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and boaters have been the primary funders of state-based conservation efforts to this day. This legislation will complement the contributions of sportsmen and women to ensure healthy fish and wildlife populations for future generations to enjoy.”
“America’s wildlife are in crisis—more than one third of all species are vulnerable or at risk. We’re grateful to Senators Risch and Manchin for introducing a bill that demonstrates that the best way to save America’s 12,000 at-risk species is through collaborative, proactive, on-the-ground conservation efforts,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This bill is an important step in the right direction and we look forward to working with the Senate to strengthen it further by adding the dedicated funding necessary to save the full diversity of wildlife species through collaborative conservation, just as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 (Pittman-Robertson) helped fuel the recovery of wildlife from pronghorn, elk, and bighorn sheep to waterfowl and ducks.”
“Outdoor Industry Association fully supports the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) which aims to bolster fish and wildlife habitat conservation,” said Amy Roberts, Executive Director for the Outdoor Industry Association. “We urge the Senate to approve the Act and applaud the hard work and leadership by Senators Risch (R-ID), Manchin (D-WV), Alexander (R-TN), and Heitkamp (D-ND) to sponsor and push it, as we could soon have a more proactive model for conservation of our nation’s fish and wildlife.”