The Senate approved a broad wildlife conservation package by unanimous consent yesterday before leaving for the weekend.
S. 3051, "America's Conservation Enhancement Act," would reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2025.
It includes provisions to manage chronic wasting disease and human-predator conflicts, and would compensate livestock producers for losses from federally protected species (Greenwire, Dec. 17, 2019).
The legislation cobbles together a wish list from various lawmakers. Sponsors John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the chairman and ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, respectively, have made chronic wasting a priority.
"The Senate has taken important bipartisan action to protect our wildlife," Barrasso said in a statement. "The ACE Act will help states and tribes partner with Washington on conservation efforts."
Lawmakers from states near the Chesapeake, including Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), trumpeted including their legislation for the bay.
The bill would authorize $90 million annually for existing Chesapeake Bay initiatives and would establish the Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense Program, with authorized funding of $15 million a year.
"Protecting the Bay wildlife is crucial to Maryland's environment and economy," said Van Hollen. "This new program will provide direct resources for our partners to undertake critical conservation efforts and will create a vital link between our local stakeholders and the Fish and Wildlife Service."
The Senate passed the wildlife legislation as an amendment to H.R. 925, from Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), the "North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act," which passed the House last year.