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Senate Committee Passes Hunting, Fishing, Conservation Priorities

The ACE Act includes Pittman-Robertson Modernization, NAWCA reauthorization and CWD provisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works today advanced the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, introduced by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), which includes the Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act to energize hunting recruitment efforts by state agencies, as well as multiple hunting, fishing and conservation priorities. 

“At a time when one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper are again affirming that our leaders can rally behind common-sense, bipartisan investments to restore wildlife populations and conserve our outdoor heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The ACE Act confronts systemic challenges facing wildlife by restoring essential wildlife habitat like wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay, eradicating wildlife disease especially Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), removing invasive species and engaging the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen. While we still have much more work to do, this important, bipartisan legislation shows that even though gridlock pervades much of our nation’s capital, wildlife conservation stands out as a rare area for bipartisan collaboration.” 

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 to the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act, the ACE Act will: 

Establish a CWD task force to develop an interstate action plan for state and federal cooperation relating to the disease;
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 Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance 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.

 

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