Senate Unanimously Passes Significant CSF Priority, ACE Reauthorization Act

Senate Unanimously Passes Significant CSF Priority, ACE Reauthorization Act

Washington, D.C. -( Yesterday, the United States Senate unanimously passed the America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Reauthorization Act (S. 3791), a comprehensive and bipartisan bill that is a top priority for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF). This important legislation is led by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Member and Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Sen. Carper, EPW Ranking Member and CSC Member Sen. Capito, who are joined by CSC Co-Chair Sen. Boozman, CSC members Senators Mullin and Wicker among other bipartisan cosponsors.

The ACE Reauthorization Act seeks to reauthorize nearly a dozen provisions that will bolster the conservation of fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats across North America and provides an important protection for America’s anglers. This legislation has been a top priority of CSF since the ACE Act was first signed into law in 2020. Leading up to the Committee passage, CSF worked to secure bipartisan cosponsors to the ACE Reauthorization Act to demonstrate the wide-spread support for this legislation. CSF also worked to secure modifications to the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships (NFHP) language in order to improve the program’s efficiency and ability to drive limited dollars to where they are needed most. The unanimous passage of S. 3791 continues to demonstrate that conservation and other sporting-conservation priorities continues to be an area of strong bipartisan agreement.
“At a time when Congress appears to be extremely divided, we continue to see that issues of importance to sportsmen and women remain an area of strong bipartisan support,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “The unanimous Senate passage of the ACE Reauthorization Act is a clear result of the bipartisan efforts of CSC Members Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito, and the other leaders of this legislation to deliver wins for sportsmen and women across the nation.”

Specifically, the ACE Reauthorization Act includes important programs such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), which provides strategic investments to conserving and restoring degraded wetlands across North America. Since its inception 35 years ago, NAWCA has provided over $2.1 billion in federal grants that has leveraged nearly $4.3 billion in non-federal contributions. In total, there have been over 3,300 NAWCA projects that have contributed to the conservation of nearly 32 million acres of wetlands in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  Unfortunately, America has lost roughly 50% of its wetlands. If passed, the ACE Reauthorization Act will increase the NAWCA authorization level from $60 million annually to $65 million annually to address the declines in wetlands.
Additionally, this legislation reauthorizes NFHP and increases the funding level from $7.2 million to $10 million annually. NFHP is a state and locally driven collection of partnerships that work to conserve priority aquatic habitat, restore fish populations, and enhance recreational fishing opportunities. CSF’s Senior Director, Fisheries Policy, was recently reappointed to serve on the Congressionally authorized NFHP Board that offers guidance for the partnerships and helps direct funding for on-the-ground projects.  
Furthermore, the ACE Reauthorization Act will provide a 5-year protection to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating the use of lead fishing tackle under the purview of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The EPA has consistently reaffirmed state management authority of lead fishing tackle and this legislation will ensure the EPA cannot be petitioned to regulate lead tackle under TSCA for a period of 5 years.   

CSF extends our gratitude to CSC Members Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito and the other bipartisan leaders of this legislation. We look forward to working with the House to get this legislation across the finish line.

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