The following update was presented and discussed at the AFFTA Board at the meeting in Somerset, NJ on January 24th.
Government Affairs and Alliances Committee Report
AFFTA’s policy decisions and our engagement on policy issues will continue to be based on this top line message: “Access to healthy habitat creates recreational opportunity and that recreational opportunity creates economic activity.”
We will continue to have three key focus areas: Water and Habitat Quality;
Recreational Fishing Access; Trade, Tax, and Business Development.
We will continue to leverage our alliances with other trade and conservation groups to maximize our impact on policy decisions. We will look for local, regional and national opportunities to work with our alliances partners and bring our economic message to the discussion.
The Jim Range Conservationists of the Year
We will be looking for suitable candidates for the awards and will confer with our members and Alliance partners and make a final recommendation to the board. We will also be look for suitable opportunities to make the presentations.
113th Session of Congress
The new session of Congress has just begun so the outlook for specific policy issues is quite unclear. There are a number of leftover issues from the previous session and it is likely they will be revisited in the coming year.
These following are some of the key issues:
Protecting Bristol Bay – Asking the EPA to invoke its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to protect Bristol Bay’s waters from Pebble Mine.
NFHAP/NFHCA – Continued support for NFHAP and NFHAP project funding. Supporting the National Fish Habitat Conservation Act if it is reintroduced.
Conservation Funding – The federal budget cannot and should not be balanced disproportionately on the backs programs that support conservation and outdoor recreation.
Clean Water Act Jurisdiction – EPA’s draft guidance clarified how they will identify waters protected by the Clean Water Act and implement the Supreme Court’s decisions concerning the extent of waters covered by the Act. This guidance is based on strong foundational science and should be made final at the earliest opportunity.
Access – Sarah Griggs prepared excellent briefings on both the Montana and Utah stream access issues. Those briefings will be posted shortly. USAC has asked for additional financial support. The board approved an additional $2,500 matching grant.
Policy Watch List
Below is 2012 Policy Watch List. Many of these items will be revisited in the coming year.
Water and Habitat Quality
•Protecting Bristol Bay
•Clarification of the Clean Water Act jurisdictional issues
•Reauthorization of Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund: DONE!
•National Fish Habitat Conservation Act
•Fish Habitat Funding
•Funding for Mitigation Hatcheries
•Farm Bill Conservation Programs DONE!
•Protections for Wilderness and Roadless Areas
•America’s Great Outdoors Initiative
•National Water Trails
•Flaming Gorge Pipeline
•Upper Colorado water diversions Windy Gap and Moffat Tunnel projects
Trade, Tax, and Business Development
•Internet Sales Tax
•Tariffs and Duties
Recreational Fishing Access
•Utah Stream Access Coalition
•Public Access in Biscayne National Park
•Making Public Lands Public
•Jackson River use case in VA.
•PPL Montana vs the State of Montana