FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Trout Unlimited Applauds Conservation Amendments to Senate Transportation Bill
Today the Senate voted to approve two amendments to the Transportation Bill which would result in significant benefits for hunters and anglers across the country by protecting and restoring fish and wildlife habitat.
The first amendment, offered by Senator Baucus (D-MT) and passed with 82 votes in favor and 16 against, provides a one year extension of funding for the Secure Rural Schools program, which compensates counties with large public holdings. Funds in this program are used by Trout Unlimited staff and volunteers to conduct watershed restoration projects in the western U.S., supporting jobs in rural communities and sustaining healthy trout and salmon fisheries.
The second amendment, offered by Senators Shelby (R-AL), Landrieu (D-LA), and Nelson (D-FL) passed by a vote of 76 in favor and 22 against, would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $700 million for two years. LWCF is financed by revenues generated by offshore oil leases, and it is an essential tool for acquiring land to protect the places Americans fish and hunt. Throughout its almost 50-year history, Congress has consistently under-funded the LWCF. The amendment would ensure that for the next two years, LWCF sees a significant boost in funding. In addition, the amendment also dedicates 1.5% of LWCF funds to be used specifically to provide hunting and angling access to existing public lands, ensuring that sportsmen across the country have ample fishing and hunting opportunities.
"These two solidly-bipartisan votes demonstrate that the Senate understands the economic importance of fishing and hunting, as well as the healthy habitats needed to sustain these vital outdoor activities," said Steve Moyer, Vice President of Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited. "Whether it's the $76 billion in annual direct expenditures from hunters and anglers, or the thousands of jobs created by rehabilitating degraded watersheds, protecting and restoring habitats on public lands is a vital driver of America’s rural economies."
As the Transportation Bill moves forward in the Senate and is considered in the House, Trout Unlimited will continue to support efforts to fund these essential conservation programs and ensure hunters and anglers have access to high quality fishing and hunting opportunities.
Trout Unlimited is a non-profit organization with more than 147,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America's trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook on Twitter via @TroutUnlimited.