Legislative Victories - 1990s

1990 - Food Agricultural Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (Farm Bill) -  The Wetlands Reserve Program was created to restore and protect wetland areas on farmlands. The program has become the largest and most successful wetland restoration program in the country. 

1990 - Oil Pollution Act -  Following the wreck of the Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound, NWF lobbied hard for passage of this law, which improved the federal government's ability to provide funding and resources to oil spills. The OPA created the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, expanded the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, and increased noncompliance penalties and enforcement authorities of the Federal government.

1990 - Clean Air Act - Amended the Clean Air Act of 1963. Addressed issues of acid rain, urban air pollution, and toxic air emissions. The amendments also added provisions for a phase out of ozone depleting chemicals and further research and development.

1990 - The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act -  Helped U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to form resource centers and "on the ground" restoration projects benefitting fish and wildlife habitat in the Great Lakes Basin.

1992 - Water Resources Development Act - Provided the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the authority to review the Central & South Florida Flood Control Project and develop a comprehensive plan to restore and preserve the south Florida ecosystem, enhance water supply and maintain flood protection.

1992 - Partnerships for Wildlife Act -  The act established a Wildlife Conservation and Appreciation Fund to facilitate collaborative partnerships in conservation administered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, supporting state fish and game agencies in their management and conservation of non-game species. The act also authorizes appropriations matching contributions from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, while also authorizing grants to the States for programs and projects to conserve non-game species. 

1992 - Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act -  The act includes many western water provisions to protect and improve environmental management:

  • Grand Canyon Protection Act - requires the Bureau of Reclamation to manage the Glen Canyon Dam "to protect, mitigate adverse impacts to, and improve the values for which Grand Canyon National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area were established."  It also requires dam operations to be consistent with protecting the health of the Grand Canyon, and authorized experimental dam releases and long term monitoring of the Grand Canyon ecosystem.
  • Central Valley Project Improvement Act - requires the Bureau of Reclamation to protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Central Valley and Trinity River basins and establishes water conservation as a key principle of Central Valley water management.
  • Central Utah Project Completion Act - modernizes and expands the State's largest reclamation project, making environmental mitigation and enhancement and water conservation and efficiency central elements of water development. Also establishes the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission.

1992 - Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act - The act requires all damages to the Grand Canyon to be mitigated, while stipulating that all dam operations become secondary to the health of the Grand Canyon ecosystem.

1992 - Energy Policy Act - An NWF led effort, the Act established the first new national standards for conserving water by improving the water efficiency of plumbing products that include showerheads, faucets, water closets, and urinals.

1993 - Hazard Mitigation and Relocation Assistance Act -  Amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to expand the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grants Program, which automatically provides states affected by Presidentially-declared natural disasters an additional 15 percent above FEMA's total disaster assistance costs. Funds are provided for hazard mitigation, particularly for voluntary acquisition and removal of flood damaged properties, with land dedicated and maintained in perpetuity for a uses compatible with open space, recreational, or wetlands management practices. After the Great Midwest Flood in 1993, more than 10,000 such damaged properties were removed from floodplains in nine Midwest states and owners were compensated at the pre-disaster fair-market values of buildings. 

1994 - National Flood Insurance Reform Act - NWF played a leading role in the first significant reforms of the National Flood Insurance Program since 1973. Bill included establishment of a Flood Mitigation Assistance Program to provide NFIP funds for voluntary property buyouts and relocations of flood prone properties with associated lands dedicated as open space. In addition it permanently authorized the NFIP Community Rating System to recognize communities which exceed NFIP minimum requirements to reduce risk and protect natural floodplain values, strengthened measures to enforce flood insurance purchase where it is required and established the first federal task force on natural and beneficial functions of floodplains. 

1996 - Water Resources Development Act - Established authority for Corps of Engineers to develop aquatic ecosystem restoration projects and directed study to develop a comprehensive plan for restoring, preserving and protecting the South Florida ecosystem.

1997 - National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act - NWF was a major proponent of this law to provide a unifying statement of purpose for the National Wildlife Refuge System and all of its individual refuges. Later, NWF worked with organizations to secure annual appropriations to increase funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

1998 - The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act - Reauthorized the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 1990. The act enacted 32 recommendations from the 1995 Great Lakes Fishery Resources Restoration Study.

1999 - Water Resources Development Act -  Established first broad authority for Corps of Engineers to develop and implement "non-structural" flood damage reduction projects, such as property buyouts and protection of open space to maintain or restore floodplain ecosystem functions. Program is known as the Flood Mitigation and Riverine Restoration program or "Challenge 21."



More Legislative Victories: