October 17, 2019
Today, the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies was pleased to witness the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on two bills, including the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.3742). The Association applauds Chairman Jared Huffman (D-CA) for his leadership in bringing H.R. 3742 up for a subcommittee hearing and looks forward to working with him and his colleagues in the subcommittee to advance this important legislation that has over 130 bipartisan cosponsors.
Without investing in proactive wildlife conservation, scientists estimate that one-third of wildlife species in the United States are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered. The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, reintroduced by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) in July of this year, is a solution to this critical problem.
The bill will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans and an additional $97.5 million for tribal fish and wildlife managers to conserve fish and wildlife on tribal lands and waters. This will provide dedicated funding, so state and tribal wildlife managers can proactively conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. All of this can be done without additional taxes.
“The Association greatly appreciates Chairman Huffman’s leadership in bringing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to the attention of the Subcommittee,” stated Kelly Hepler, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. “This hearing is an important opportunity to advance H.R. 3742 and create a modern funding mechanism to conserve more than one-third of our nation’s at-risk fish and wildlife in a manner that is preventative and saves taxpayers money by investing for the next generation in conservation before more costly regulatory approaches are needed.”
In advance of the Subcommittee hearing, the Association, along with members of a broad and diverse national coalition sent a letter to Members of Congress urging swift passage of H.R. 3742.
Not since enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, that provided critical funding for fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, have we had an opportunity to pass legislation of such importance to protecting what is every American’s birthright—our great natural heritage. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most important conservation legislation in a generation.