WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and a broad group of stakeholders have voiced support for S. 3051, America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act. The legislation passed Congress and will now be sent to the president’s desk.
Introduced by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE), the ACE Act helps conserve wildlife and wildlife habitat, including by reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Establishment Act. It also addresses the threats of emerging wildlife diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease, protects livestock from predators, and combats invasive species.
On December 13, 2019, Barrasso and Carper introduced the ACE Act. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), John Boozman (R-AR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) are cosponsors of the bill.
What They Are Saying:
Members of Congress
“Congress has passed the most significant wildlife conservation and sportsmen’s legislation in decades. For us in Wyoming, it will protect critical habitat, fight chronic wasting disease, conserve species, and compensate ranchers for predator attacks. The ACE Act will help states and tribes manage species better. These measures will help preserve America’s incredible wildlife for hikers, landowners, farmers, hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. The legislation has the support of conservationists, sportsmen, and farmers alike. It’s a great example of working across party lines to get something done. I am thankful to Ranking Member Carper for his partnership and I look forward to President Trump signing the ACE Act into law.” - Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
“America’s Conservation Enhancement Act builds on state and stakeholder commitments to restore wetlands and improve water quality by reauthorizing effective programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Program. While helping to protect and restore important habitats, the conservation efforts supported by the ACE Act also help to fuel multibillion-dollar fishing and ecotourism industries. The ACE Act will also help to drive the development of new and innovative solutions for growing threats like invasive species and wildlife disease – threats we know will only become more challenging with our changing climate. This legislation is a bipartisan win for conservation and outdoor recreation, and I thank our colleagues in the House for their support.” – Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE)
“The Chesapeake Bay remains an important natural resource and its headwaters in West Virginia play a meaningful role in our state’s economy. By reauthorizing existing funding and establishing the first federal species and habitat conservation grants tailored specifically to this region, we’re better able to support vital ecosystems and West Virginia’s large outdoor industry. I’m thrilled that both the Chesapeake Bay Program Reauthorization Act and the Chesapeake WILD Act were included in the ACE Act, and I look forward to President Trump signing this legislation into law.” – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
“A hundred years from now, people are going to look back at this time in Congress and talk a lot about the challenges, the changes, and strife. And then they’re going to see some bright spots. What we’ve been able to accomplish for habitat, for wildlife, and for public lands in this year alone has been remarkable—and that includes passing the ACE Act. Our public lands and outdoor recreation are a uniting force. I am proud to help lead this latest effort to conserve wildlife and ecosystems, enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, and put people back to work restoring our public lands.” – Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Rep. Debbie Dingell
“This bill is an example of Democrats and Republicans coming together to pass legislation to benefit nature, fishermen, hunters, and nature enthusiasts of all kinds. I want to thank colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their hard work on this very important piece of legislation. I'm greatly appreciative of Representative Mike Thompson for his leadership in the House and for Senators Barrasso and Carper for getting this package through the Senate.” – Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)
“America’s Conservation Enhancement Act does much to enhance our bipartisan goals of conserving fish and wildlife populations and preserving the environment for untold future generations of Americans. The ACE Act will also give more Americans the opportunity to get out and enjoy our country, from the great lakes to the pew yet sound and Chesapeake Bay... this is a great example about what we can all do when we look at those things we have in common. We have been bestowed these fantastic natural resources, gifts from our creator. We have an obligation to protect them and what we see today is that common idea of that obligation and how we fulfill that obligation.” – Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
“At a time when one-third of wildlife species are at heightened risk of extinction, Chairman Barrasso, Senator Carper, and Senator Heinrich are again showing that conservation can bring our leaders across the political spectrum together to achieve real progress. The ACE Act confronts systemic challenges facing wildlife by restoring essential wildlife habitat like wetlands and the Chesapeake Bay, fighting Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk, and removing invasive species.” – Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
"The passage of the ACE Act today is fantastic news for the conservation community. In a package filled with vitally important conservation provisions, perhaps none are more crucial to waterfowl habitat than the reauthorization of NAWCA. Thank you to all the members of Congress who have identified the importance of conservation and worked with Ducks Unlimited and others to achieve one of our highest legislative priorities. We're elated to see such game-changing legislation pass both chambers of Congress, and we stand ready to help implement this important piece of America's conservation legacy once the president signs it into law." – Adam Putnam, Ducks Unlimited CEO
“Passage of the ACE Act will not only benefit deer, ducks, fish, and our water quality, but it will also create jobs in conservation and help to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities for millions of Americans just when we need it most. Sportsmen and women are grateful to both Democratic and Republican leadership in the Senate and House for their support of and commitment to the passage of this critical legislation. It secures the future of essential conservation programs and funding sources that hunters and anglers have prioritized for years.” - Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
“This legislation could not be coming at a more critical time for our nation’s natural resources. The public’s enthusiasm for nature and use of our lands and waters for outdoor recreation is at an unprecedented level, and we are thankful to Congress for recognizing and acting upon the increased need for conservation programs and funding. These programs will enable those entrusted with managing our natural resources to both address ongoing challenges, and proactively restore and conserve species and habitats before new problems arise.” - Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
“We also applaud the establishment of a specific depredation permitting structure for producers who have experienced losses due to common raven and black vulture depredation. Most of these losses occur during calving and lambing season, with producers experiencing tens of thousands of dollars in losses in any given year. It is imperative that producers have common-sense tools to protect their livestock, their financial security, and local wildlife populations."- Kaitlynn Glover, PLC executive director and NCBA executive director of Natural Resources
“The passage of the ACE Act is a great win for anglers and for fish habitat across the country. Trout Unlimited is especially pleased to see the National Fish Habitat Partnership Program, created by state fisheries agencies to improve fish habitat and water quality, is now federally recognized. Thanks to these partnerships, Trout Unlimited is able to leverage program funds often at a 5:1 ratio to improve coldwater habitat for species like the native westslope cutthroat and Eastern brook trout. We thank Congress for its excellent bipartisan, bicameral work to approve this critical legislation.” - Steve Moyer, vice president for government affairs at Trout Unlimited
“There is overwhelming and bipartisan support for the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act. Legislators from both parties recognize the importance of clean water and a healthy environment. For us in the Chesapeake Bay region, this broad commitment to a restored Bay and increased funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program, as well as for other grant programs that benefit fish and wildlife habitat and clean water, are significant investments that will benefit the health, environment, and economy of the Bay and all those that live, work, and recreate throughout the watershed.” - Jason Rano, federal executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
“At a time when many Americans are spending more time outdoors and appreciating our nation’s birds and other wildlife, this commitment by Congress will be a critical boost for birds, other wildlife, and people. By reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Chesapeake Bay Program, and more, Congress has ensured crucial support for improving and restoring wetlands and other habitat that serve an important role for not only wildlife, but for the economic health of communities across the country.” - Jesse Walls, senior director of Government Affairs of the National Audubon Society