February 07, 2014

Senator Manchin Supports Bipartisan Senate Sportsmen's Package

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), along with Senators Kay Hagan (D-NC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and nine additional cosponsors, today cosponsored the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, the first bipartisan, comprehensive sportsmen’s bill in the Senate. The legislation includes policies to enhance opportunities for hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts, reauthorize key conservation programs, improve access to Federal Lands, and help boost the outdoor recreation economy.

“As an avid sportsman, I know firsthand that our hunting and fishing heritage is so important to who we are as West Virginians and as Americans,” said Senator Manchin, a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “I truly believe that people in the Mountain State and across this nation should be able to enjoy hunting and recreational shooting and have the ability to go out and enjoy the outdoors.”
The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is also cosponsored by Senators Mark Begich (AK), John Boozman (AR), Dean Heller (NV), John Hoeven (ND), Mary Landrieu (LA), Rob Portman (OH), Mark Pryor (AR), Jon Tester (MT) and David Vitter (LA).
The bill includes policies that address the unique needs of hunters and anglers in different parts of the country, recognizing that the needs of sportsmen and women in some parts of the country are different than others.
The bill also strengthens the outdoor recreation sector, which contributes $646 billion to the U.S. economy each year and directly supports 6.1 million jobs
Among the bill’s provisions:

•      Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage Opportunities Act which requires federal land managers to consider how management plans affect opportunities to engage in hunting, fishing and recreational shooting.  The bill also requires the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to keep their lands open to hunting, recreational fishing, and shooting, and facilitate the use of and access to federal public lands and waters for these activities.
•      The Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, which helps states build and maintain shooting ranges on federal and non-federal lands.
•      North American Wetlands Conservation Act Reauthorization. Over the last 20 years, this program has funded over 1,600 projects that conserved more than 20 million acres of wetlands in North America. NAWCA is also cost-effective, with every dollar of federal funding traditionally generating three dollars in non-federal money.
•      The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, which exempts lead fishing tackle and bullets from being regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, leaving the existing authority to state fish and game agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
•      The Permanent Duck Stamp Act, which allows states to issue electronic duck stamps that enable hunters to participate in duck season while waiting for the physical stamp to arrive in the mail.