Habitat & Conservation  |  10/03/2018

Farm Bill Expires But Process Not Over

By Jim Inglis and Bethany Erb, PF Government Affairs

This week the Farm Bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) expired. PF/QF staff and partners pressed Congress for months in advance advocating for an on-time reauthorization for both programs.Thank you to everyone that made calls and sent emails. You were heard and the process is not over!
The House and Senate have signaled their intent to have the Farm Bill finalized by December, most likely during the lame duck session.The delay is disappointing but there is still time: Please keep up your calls and emails to your representatives!
On a more positive note, yesterday the Senate Natural Resource and Environment Committee permanently reauthorized  the Land and Water Conservation Fund with full funding. LWCF, established in 1964, provides funding for recreational access and opportunities on federal and state lands. This program has been critical over the last 50 years in creating outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting and fishing throughout the country.

WCF permanent reauthorization passed the House Natural Resources Committee in early September. This was a great bipartisan effort, and sportsmen and women are grateful to our congressional leaders and their staffs for this accomplishment.

LWCF moved as a package with the Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act, a bill introduced by Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, which establishes new funds to address the maintenance backlog on some federally- managed lands.The fund is intended for infrastructure projects such as fixing existing roads and improving trails for access. Both bills should head to full House/Senate vote then conference committee later this fall.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) also remains on the horizon for this fall. RAWA will redirect existing annual revenue to state-led wildlife conservation efforts, effectively allowing the states to more fully implement their State Wildlife Action Plans. RAWA will be funded by an annual investment of $1.3 billion in revenues from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters. 
As, always check back to the Pheasants Forver Stories tab for the latest updates.