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Policy News: Vol. 3, Issue 10

Top stories for Mar. 15, 2011
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Senate majority proposes amendment to H.R.1, supports funding crucial conservation programs

H.R.1
The U.S. Senate majority unveiled suggested amendments to H.R. 1, a bill passed by the House of Representatives that proposes massive spending cuts to conservation programs, including the loss of $47 million in funding for North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants. The Senate amendment does not contain language that would severely cut NAWCA funding. (member photo submitted by Michael Carion)

Recently, the U.S. Senate majority unveiled their suggested amendments to H.R. 1, a bill passed by the House of Representatives that proposes massive spending cuts to conservation programs. The cuts would affect wetlands conservation to the tune of nearly $2 billion, including the loss of $47 million in funding for North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants. The Senate majority's version of the bill contains several suggested revisions, including the restoration of severe funding cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and state wildlife grants. Unlike the House-passed version of H.R. 1, the Senate amendment does not contain language that would severely cut NAWCA funding. It is not clear if the Senate's majority can muster the votes to pass their version in the Senate; votes are expected this week.

While these recent developments in the Senate are a positive sign, NAWCA, LWCF and SWG are still in jeopardy, as rumors have circulated that the Senate's minority will propose passing the House's version of H.R. 1. As negotiations continue in Congress, revisions to the Senate amendment of H.R. 1 can occur at any time, meaning that these programs can still face severe funding cuts or receive no funding at all.

Ducks Unlimited understands it is important to eliminate the budget deficit, but targeting or eliminating conservation programs that are a cost-effective investment in the future of our children and grandchildren is unacceptable. As Congress continues to deliberate on H.R. 1, we must ensure that these bipartisan and cost-effective conservation programs do not become collateral damage of politics.

NAWCA, LWCF and SWG are essential to conserving our nation's wetlands and wildlife. While the Senate amendment to H.R.1 is a step in the right direction, we must make certain that these important conservation programs are properly funded in the final version of this legislation. For these reasons, Ducks Unlimited urges all of its members to visit the Take Action section of our website to find out how you can help ensure NAWCA, LWCF and SWG receive the funding they deserve.


DU GAO hosts reception in Washington, D.C., highlights importance of NAWCA program

NAWCA reception
A number of members of Congress and their staffs attended a reception held by DU’s Government Affairs Office to highlight the importance of the North American Wetland Conservation Act to wetlands conservation efforts throughout the nation.

DU's Government Affairs Office hosted a reception last week for members of Congress and their staffs to highlight the importance of the North American Wetland Conservation Act to wetlands conservation efforts throughout the nation.

Not only did the reception have a strong turnout, but several congressmen and senators also used the event as an opportunity to speak in support of NAWCA. Rep. Rob Wittman (VA), and U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor (AR), Thad Cochran (MS) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) addressed the crowd about NAWCA's crucial role in conserving wetlands and emphasized the program's financial benefits. NAWCA distinguishes itself from many government programs because it is a match-based grant that creates revenue. For every federal dollar invested in the program, an average of 3.2 dollars is contributed by non-federal entities.

"The NAWCA reception was a great success," said Scott Sutherland, director of DU's GAO. "The event's strong turnout by both members of Congress and their staffs proves that NAWCA funding does have a base of congressional support. As we move forward in the 112th Congress, DU will continue to work with members of Congress to try to ensure NAWCA's funding can continue."

Several other legislators showed their support for NAWCA by attending the reception, including the following: Rep. Jim Moran (VA), U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenburg (NJ), Rep. Heath Shuler (NC), Rep. Jeff Landry (LA), U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Rep. Steve Southerland (FL).

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