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 committee business meeting to consider S. 1514, the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act. The HELP for Wildlife Act passed the EPW Committee by a vote of 14 to 7 with broad bipartisan support.
The HELP for Wildlife Act will authorize several important government wildlife conservation programs. The bipartisan legislation will also provide regulatory clarity for sportsmen and farmers. The bill is supported by a broad group of stakeholders. For more information on the bipartisan HELP for Wildlife Act, click here.
To watch video of the full business meeting, click here.
Senator Barrasso’s full remarks:
“The HELP for Wildlife Act is a bipartisan conservation bill designed to enhance recreational hunting and sport fishing activities, ensure commonsense environmental regulations, and protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.
“I introduced this bipartisan bill with Senators Cardin, Boozman, Klobuchar, Capito, and Baldwin.
“The bill has also been cosponsored by Senators Johnson, Enzi, King, and Inhofe.
“I thank them for working with me in crafting this legislation that over 50 environmental and sportsmen organizations have endorsed, and that the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership called ‘the strongest legislative package of sportsmen’s priorities in years’.
“Last week, the Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony from several witnesses who agreed with the dozens of the environmental and sportsmen communities that the HELP for Wildlife Act is a significant bipartisan conservation bill worth supporting.
“The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s chief game warden and Chief of the Wildlife Division applauded the bill for exhibiting as he described it ‘a reliance on the underlying trust in the abilities of states to make decisions regarding important issues affecting their citizenry.’
“And for ‘plac[ing] priority on and provid[ing] resources for America’s fish and wildlife resources and the places that they live.’
“The CEO of Ducks Unlimited, who is a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, testified, ‘This bill is very important and has a lot of components in it that are important to all of us in the conservation community.’
“This significant, bipartisan conservation bill will improve habitat and protect wildlife throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in states like New York, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia.
“The vice president of Environmental Protection and Restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation testified, ‘The Chesapeake Bay Foundation strongly supports the conservation programs included in this bill. They are important to the sportsmen and anglers in our region, and to restoring the Chesapeake Bay.’
“The environmental and sportsmen communities are enthusiastic about the HELP for Wildlife Act for good reason.
“The bill protects the environment and conserves wildlife and wildlife habitats by creating fish habitat conservation partnerships, and by reauthorizing: 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 enhances opportunities for sportsmen by ensuring anglers can continue to use lead tackle and by promoting public target ranges for recreational shooting.
“The bill provides farmers with regulatory certainty by ensuring they are not held liable for bird baiting for hunting purposes when they adhere to USDA and state agricultural best practices.
“The bill puts an end to the Endangered Species Act listing of the gray wolf in Wyoming and the Great Lakes, which will free up the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to redirect resources that were being spent on the already fully-recovered gray wolf to other species that are truly in need.
“It is time for this committee to take a major step towards furthering conservation efforts in our states in a bipartisan way.
“I urge my colleagues to stand with the 50-plus environmental and sportsmen’s organizations and constituents that they represent who want further conservation efforts in this country.
“I look forward to passing this important legislation out of the committee today, and working with my colleagues to pass it on the Senate floor.”