Capito, Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Wildlife Legislation

The HELP for Wildlife Act will reauthorize important conservation programs and provide federal regulatory clarity for America’s sportsmen

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), joined with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to introduce the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act.

The bipartisan legislation will reauthorize or establish several important government wildlife conservation programs. The HELP for Wildlife Act will also provide regulatory clarity for sportsmen.

“We are so fortunate to live in a country as full of natural beauty and as rich in wildlife as the United States, and it’s important we take steps to preserve those resources,” Senator Capito said. “This legislative package includes a number of important measures that will help protect our unique ecosystems and enable us to better enjoy our country’s natural gifts, both in wild and wonderful West Virginia and across the country. I am proud to have introduced a number of bills reflected in this legislation—including measures to support the building and expansion of public target ranges, as well as the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.”

“America has been blessed with remarkable wildlife,” Senator Barrasso said. “The HELP Wildlife Act promotes conservation based on sound science and provides needed protections for America’s sportsmen."

“A healthy Bay means a healthy economy for Maryland and the entire Chesapeake Bay Watershed region, which cannot be accomplished without a reliable federal partner. I urge appropriators to take note of the bipartisan support for authorizing these programs, despite the president’s lack of understanding of their worthiness,” Senator Cardin said. “States rely on the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program to provide federal accountability, enforceability, and resources to restore the health of this national treasure. Combined with reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Initiative, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and protection for our fish and birds, this bipartisan bill is a significant victory for the Bay. Less pollution means more oysters and crabs, healthier farmland, more boats and tourism on the water, and more jobs.”

“Hunting and fishing are not just hobbies in Minnesota – they’re a way of life – and major drivers in the outdoor and recreation economies,” Senator Klobuchar said. “This bipartisan legislation will create greater opportunities for outdoor recreation, hunting, and fishing so Minnesotans can continue to enjoy our state’s outdoor traditions."

“This bill protects our natural environment and wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations. In addition, it includes a provision that will protect Arkansas farmers who follow prescribed best practices when safeguarding their crops from certain migratory bird species. Promoting common sense conservation policies that do not create undue burdens on states and landowners is a clear win,” Senator Boozman said.

“Wisconsin has long been a national leader for conservation and we have a proud tradition of hunting, fishing and enjoying the great outdoors,” Senator Baldwin said. “Our bipartisan legislation will help protect these traditions for future generations and safeguard the natural resources we are blessed to enjoy in Wisconsin.” 

Specifically, the HELP for Wildlife Act will: 

  • Reauthorize and fund the North American Wetlands Conservation Act until 2023;
  • Reauthorize and fund the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2023;
  • Reauthorize and fund the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act until 2023;
  • Mandate the reissuance of final rules de-listing the gray wolf in both Wyoming and the western Great Lakes and prohibits judicial review;
  • Reauthorize and fund the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2023;
  • Reauthorize and fund the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program until 2023;
  • Finalize partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation;
  • Prevent farmers from being held liable for bird baiting for hunting purposes if they adhere to USDA and state agricultural best practices; and
  • Promote the building and expansion of public target ranges.

To view full text of the legislation, click here.