Click here to watch Chairman Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), delivered the following remarks at a legislative hearing on S. 1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act. For more information on the bipartisan HELP for Wildlife Act click here.

The hearing featured testimony from Brian Nesvik, chief game warden for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department; Jeff Crow, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited and the former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Kim Coble, vice president of environmental protection & restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; and John Vucetich, associated professor at the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.

For more information on their testimonies click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“Today we are here to talk about S.1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act, or HELP for Wildlife.

“This bill is comprehensive, bipartisan legislation designed to enhance recreational hunting and sport fishing activities, to ensure commonsense environmental regulation, and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.

“I introduced this bipartisan bill along with Senators Cardin, Capito, Klobuchar, Boozman, and Baldwin.

“The bill has been additionally cosponsored by Senators Enzi, King and Johnson.

“I thank them for working with me in crafting this legislation that the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has called ‘the Strongest legislative package of sportsmen’s priorities in years.’

“The HELP for Wildlife Act does a number of things.

“First, it protects wildlife and wildlife habitat across the country by reauthorizing important environmental programs.

“Among others, the bill reauthorizes until 2023 the North American Wetlands Conservation Act; the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act; the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act; the Chesapeake Bay Program; and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program.

“The bill also provides for enhanced recreational shooting and sport fishing activities.

“The bill finalizes partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation across the country that will create new recreational sport fishing activities and opportunities.

“The bill also ensures that lead tackle, which is widely used by anglers, is not unnecessarily regulated under the Toxic Substance Control Act, a position reaffirmed twice by the Obama administration.

“The bill also promotes the building and expansion of public target ranges for recreational shooting.

“Finally, this bill ensures commonsense environmental regulation that protects species as well as farmers and ranchers.

“The bill prevents farmers from being held liable for bird baiting for hunting purposes if they adhere to USDA and state agriculture best practices.

“The bill also prohibits judicial review of the final Obama Administration rule de-listing the recovered gray wolf in Wyoming that was reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on March 3, 2017 and republished on May 1, 2017.

“The bill also mandates the reissuance of the final rule de-listing the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes and prohibits judicial review.

“The HELP for Wildlife Act has garnered tremendous support from the environmental and the sportsmen’s communities.

“Over 50 different organizations have endorsed the HELP for Wildlife Act.

“Diverse groups such as: Ducks Unlimited, which will be testifying today; the National Wildlife Federation; Trout Unlimited; the Chesapeake Bay Foundation; the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies; the American Sportfishing Association; Boone & Crockett Club; Safari Club International; the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just to name a few.

“Many groups in my home state of Wyoming have also submitted written testimony in support of the bill, including the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Farm Bureau, the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, and the Wyoming County Commissioners Association.

“Former Democrat Governor David Freudenthal has also submitted written testimony in support of the HELP for Wildlife Act.

“I ask that all their written testimonies be submitted for the record.

“I will also note that my friend Brian Nesvik, chief game warden with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, is testifying today in support of this bill.

“I had the honor of spending time with Brian on two occasions in 2009, including Thanksgiving. At the time, he was deployed to Kuwait as commander of the 2nd -300th Field Artillery unit with the mission of running convoy operations into Iraq.

“I thank Mr. Nesvik for coming before this committee to testify.

“Just as with the WILD Act and the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act which both passed this committee earlier this year with strong bipartisan support, this bill is another example of how we can all work together, both Democrat and Republican, to help protect the environment and grow our economy.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on moving this important legislation out of the committee and pass it on the Senate floor.”