Senate Panel Advances Legislative Priorities for Anglers and Hunters
Bozeman, Montana — November 20, 2015 — The American Fly Fishing Trade Association commends the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for voting yesterday, November 19, 2015, to advance the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015. Overwhelming bipartisan support was shown, with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah casting the sole recorded vote in opposition.
The legislation proposes to protect and enhance public access for fishing, hunting, and target-shooting on federal lands, and includes sensible provisions to conserve fish and wildlife habitat. Reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — viewed as crucial for sportsmen — is attached to the Sportsman’s Act. The LWCF, established in 1965, funds the purchase and development of wildlife refuges, parks, and recreational resources. LWCF receives its funding from a percentage of oil and gas revenues collected from companies extracting resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. A federal portion of the LWCF provides funding for additions to national wildlife refuges, national parks, and national forests, making it a keystone component of habitat preservation.
Introduced by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Deb Fischer (R-NE), the Act has been supported by every major angling and hunting organization in the country.
AFFTA President Ben Bulis commented, “It’s great to see partisan politics put aside in support of hunters, anglers and outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Sportsmen and women were concerned that this session of Congress would end without addressing the needs of the outdoor recreation economy, but the committee’s actions provide a clear message of support.”
AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry. By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing.