Dear Mr. Gregory:
Thank you for contacting me about the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014. I appreciate hearing from you on this important conservation legislation.
The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014, S. 2363 was introduced by Senator Hagan of North Carolina on May 20, 2014. This legislation represented a package of several bills that sought to expand conservation and sportsmen's opportunities on public lands. Key measures in the bill would have reauthorized programs that conserve wetlands to benefit of ducks and other wildlife and allow federal agencies to use revenues from land sales to acquire critical lands of higher conservation value. The bill would also allow recreational public access to federal lands for the use of hunting, fishing and recreational use and reauthorize funding for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a non-profit organization that matches public conservation dollars with private funds to preserve our nation's wildlife and habitats. While there is already access authorized for sportsmen on many of our public lands, the Sportsmen's bill would have helped to further prioritize access for hunting and fishing on these lands.
On July 10, 2014, despite strong bipartisan support for the underlying legislation and the widespread backing by numerous sportsmen's groups including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the bill failed to garner the votes needed to move forward and overcome a filibuster in the Senate. I share your frustration with the process we confronted with the Sportsmen's bill, it is a shame that despite solid support from sportsmen across the country, the debate on this bill became weighed down by unrelated amendments and interests that undermined our chance to expand hunter access in some of our nation's most valuable federal lands.
Growing up in Vermont, I recognize how important it is to make sure that everyone can enjoy our nation's natural resources in their own way. Having owned firearms in my youth and enjoying target shooting with my friends and family, I understand the importance of Vermont's outdoor tradition of hunting and fishing and the enjoyment those around the country attain through the use of firearms in a safe and responsible way. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have long fought to provide funding for natural resource management and protections. I remain committed to working to protect and preserve our federal lands so that generations to come can experience the rewards of stewardship and conservancy.
Thank you for contacting me. Please keep in touch
United States Senator