Senate leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) is pushing for restoration of $50 million for fish and wildlife management by the states. In a stunning act of bureaucratic malfeasance, the money was withheld last spring as part of federal sequestration.
But as I pointed out then, “This is not money that would come from the general budget. This is money already collected as excise taxes on fishing and hunting gear and motorboat fuel by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“And this is money reserved, by law, to be used only for fisheries and wildlife management under the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
“But because of poorly written legislation, 5.1 percent of it can be withheld from the states as part of the sequestration process.”
Now, Senate CSC leaders have sent a letter to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting that money be released for use by the states.
“We salute the bipartisan leadership of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for once again standing up in support of hunters and anglers,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
“These dedicated trust funds form the financial backbone of the most successful conservation story in history, and to release them to the state wildlife agencies where they belong is simply the right thing to do.”
The funds are the foundation of the unique American System of Conservation Funding, a “user pays-public benefits” program that has enhanced fish and wildlife populations, improved habitat, and boosted public access to lands and waters.
In the letter, CSC leadership noted that in implementing sequestration, OMB is required to follow rules outlined in the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985. The act provides that budgetary resources sequestered in trust fund accounts in a fiscal year "shall be available in subsequent years to the extent otherwise provided in law."
In March, CSF, along with 44 organizations representing millions of hunters, anglers and other conservationists, asked House and Senate leadership assistance in exempting the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Funds from the Budget Sequestration Act of 2011. But no relief was forthcoming.
Go here and click the “clean air and water” tab to see how much money for fisheries and wildlife management that your state lost because of this idiotic and unnecessary damage to the nation’s natural resources.