Senate energy bill includes reauthorization of North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
"The passage of the Senate's energy bill is an important first step in ensuring programs like NAWCA continue protecting vital resources for generations to come." - Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited.
Senators Murkowski and Cantwell offered an amendment that included many elements from the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the first energy bill in nine years, the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012). This bipartisan, comprehensive energy reform bill incorporated many elements from the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act, including the reauthorization of important conservation programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).
"The North American Wetlands Conservation Act is an important program for conserving our nation's wetlands and waterfowl," said Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. "The passage of the Senate's energy bill is an important step in ensuring programs like NAWCA continue protecting vital resources for generations to come. It is encouraging to see conservation priorities included in this legislation that benefit sportsmen and women and the general public, and I want to thank Senators Lisa Murkowski and Maria Cantwell for their leadership on this bill."
Senators Murkowski and Cantwell offered an amendment to the energy bill, which passed 97-0, that included many provisions from the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act (S. 405). The last reauthorization for NAWCA expired in 2012, and this amendment offered language that would reauthorize the program through 2020, thus enabling funding to continue to be appropriated for this critical habitat effort.
NAWCA is a voluntary, non-regulatory, incentive-based wildlife conservation program that brings together public and private funding partners to deliver wetland conservation across the continent. Partners include federal, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations like Ducks Unlimited and private landowners. Every federal dollar for NAWCA requires matching funds from a non-federal source. Since its introduction, NAWCA projects have been allocated $1 billion in federal grants - leveraging an additional $3 billion in non-federal funds. More than 2,500 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of almost 30.7 million acres of habitat across North America.
Another key conservation program is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Under the Senate energy bill, LWCF would be permanently reauthorized. The LWCF has provided important funding in recent years to the Dakota Grassland Conservation Area which is one of the highest priority landscapes for DU.
The next step is for the Senate bill and the House energy bill (H.R.8), which was passed in December, to be settled in conference before the end of this legislative session.
For more information visit www.ducks.org.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org
Tucker Clare Nelson