Senate Passes Important Conservation Legislation, ACE Act (S.3051)
January 13, 2020
posted in: News
Senators John Barrasso (R – WY) and Tom Carper (D – DE) introduced the bill in late December, which moved quickly through the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on December 17, 2019. ACE passed on unanimous consent by the full Senate on January 9, 2020.
ACE includes the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act, which allows state fish and wildlife agencies greater flexibility to apply sportsmen’s dollars to their marketing plans and expanding access to their learn-to-hunt programs. Sportsmen have been playing an excise tax on the purchase of their sporting arms and ammunition since 1937 when Congress passed the Pittman-Robertson Act. These monies are then distributed to states annually as a vital source of operational funds explicitly earmarked for wildlife conservation and game management programs. This legislation now directs a portion of these funds towards hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation programs to address the decline in hunting participation across the United States.
ACE formally establishes a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) task force to work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to more aggressively address this always-fatal disease affecting deer, elk, caribou, and moose. CWD has now spread to 26 states and 4 Canadian provinces. The EPW Committee had previously hosted several hearings on CWD resulting in identifying the need for a dedicated task force.
ACE also addresses a growing issue for livestock producers who are dealing with more large predators on the landscape, wolves and grizzly bears. It establishes a grant program to compensate producers who front the expense of employing nonlethal preventative measures to mitigate their losses due to predation on their stock.
The Wild Sheep Foundation recently signed a coalition letter sponsored by the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) in support of the Senate Environment and Public Works efforts and ACE. WSF applauds Senators Barrasso and Carper for their willingness to advance critical conservation measures needed today and will continue to work with our partners to ensure ACE now passes the House of Representatives and becomes law.