November 8, 2021
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies enthusiastically commends Congress for passing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (HR 3684), which will support fish and wildlife resources and ecosystem resiliency while driving economic recovery and creating high quality jobs through new and reauthorized conservation programs. Last week Friday, November 5, 2021, the House passed the bill, sending this historic legislation to the President’s desk for enactment.
“We thank our many conservation champions and Congress as a whole for passing the historic, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “By reauthorizing core systems of conservation and establishing new, groundbreaking programs, Congress and the White House have once again shown their commitment to working across the aisle to address modern-day natural resource challenges and have set the stage for collaborative conservation and restoration of our nation’s fish and wildlife species and habitats.”
Once enacted, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will direct $650 million annually in user-generated fees on fishing equipment and motorboat and small engine fuels by reauthorizing the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which state agencies use to fund on-the-ground projects increasing recreational access, restoring aquatic habitats, and providing public education on boating safety. The Association thanks Chair Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Wicker (R-MS) of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for championing the reauthorizing legislation in the Senate, and Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Garret Graves (R-LA) for their House sponsorship as well as Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Robert Wittman (R-VA), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Austin Scott (R-GA).
“By reauthorizing and replenishing the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund, establishing the Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program, and providing unprecedented funding for hydro connectivity projects and water management, Congress is empowering the creation of thousands of high quality non-exportable American jobs while ensuring programs and policies support the optimization of services that our unique ecosystems provide nationwide for all citizens such as flood attenuation, clean air and clean water,” said Ron Regan, Executive Director for the Association. “State fish and wildlife agencies stand ready to work with their state and federal agency partners in implementing the important conservation provisions in this historic Act.”
In addition to reauthorizing the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund and providing for an $11.3 billion infusion into the fund, the legislation authorizes over $1 billion in funding for hydro connectivity projects and aquatic organism passage, as well as $350 million in competitive grants for wildlife crossings structures.
The Association thanks Chairman Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member Barrasso (R-WY) of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Chairman DeFazio (D-WA) and Ranking Member Graves (R-MO) of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Chairman Carper (D-DE) and Ranking Member Capito (R-WV) of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works for their leadership in securing passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as Reps. Cartwright (D-PA) and Thompson (R-PA) for championing reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund in the House.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest. The Association represents its state agency members on Capitol Hill and before the Administration to advance favorable fish and wildlife conservation policy and funding and works to ensure that all entities work collaboratively on the most important issues. The Association also provides member agencies with coordination services on cross-cutting as well as species-based programs that range from birds, fish habitat and energy development to climate change, wildlife action plans, conservation education, leadership training and international relations. Working together, the Association’s member agencies are ensuring that North American fish and wildlife management has a clear and collective voice.