Dear Mr. Davis,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 (S.3525). I appreciate the benefit of your views on this important issue.
Introduced by Senator Tester (D-MT) on September 20, 2012, the Sportsmen's Act is a compilation of nearly 20 different bipartisan bills important to the sportsmen's community that focus on conservation of wildlife habitat and improving access to hunting and fishing.
I am a cosponsor of S.3525 because it includes a number of provisions that I believe are important to Virginians. First, this bill will increase access to the 35 million acres of public land that are currently restricted or limited in use. Sportsmen, who contributed $90 billion to the national economy in 2011, cite loss of access at the number one reason why they have given up hunting or fishing. This bill allows the Bureau of Land Management to work with willing landowners and acquire high priority in-holding to protect wildlife and recreational access.
Secondly, the bill reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. This Act is a voluntary, landowner-friendly initiative that has conserved over 26 million acres of critical habitat for migratory birds. By reauthorizing this program, the Sportsmen's Act promotes recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting while continuing to promote public-private partnerships that support conservation of fish and wildlife populations.
Additionally, the Sportsmen's Act will give the Secretary of the Interior the authority to allow states to sell duck stamps electronically. To date, duck stamps have generated over $750 million to protect wetland habitats nationwide. Selling duck stamps electronically will mean easier access for the general public and an increased investment in the critical conservation programs the duck stamps fund. In the midst of the important debate about getting our fiscal house in order, this bill will save $5 million over 10 years.
Unfortunately, the Sportsmen's Act failed to pass a procedural hurdle on November 26, 2012. Although I voted with 49 of my colleagues to move the bill forward, the Sportsmen's Act did not meet the 60-vote threshold required and therefore did not advance forward. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the Sportsmen's Act of 2012 because this bill is consistent with my longtime personal and policy commitment to provide more opportunities for outdoor recreation, to restore critical landscapes, and to support a robust outdoor economy.
Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at http://warner.senate.gov
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator