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August 2020 Legislative Update


GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT

Houston Safari Club Foundation (HSCF) applauds The U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of this historic legislation to promote conservation and increased public land and water access for opportunities for sportsmen and women. The Great American Outdoors Act will provide $9.5 billion over 5 years to address the decimated infrastructure on America’s public lands and waters. The National Park Service will receive $6.5 billion in funding and $3 billion will be included to repair and maintain public land infrastructure overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The inclusion of funding specifically for BLM, USFWS, and USFS lands and waters will ensure that Americans have the ability to access critically important hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities. Over 246 million acres, or 99%, of BLM lands are open to hunting and fishing while the USFS reports that 99% of the 193 million acres it administers are open to hunting and at least 99% of USFS administered rivers, streams, and lakes are open to fishing. Collectively, BLM, USFWS, and USFS annually support more than 25 million hunting days and nearly 45 million fishing days, highlighting the importance of these lands for America’s sportsmen and women as well as the outdoor economy. Additionally, funding to address these agencies’ maintenance backlog will create over 100,000 employment opportunities. The Great American Outdoors Act also provides full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually. LWCF is one of the most successful and influential conservation programs in our nation’s history. GAOA also ensures $15 million annually is dedicated to increase public access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation.

H.R. 2245 & H.R. 7612

HSC joined other conservation organizations in providing an opposition letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, U.S. House of Representatives and Kevin McCarthy, Republican Leader, U.S. House of Representatives, regarding H.R. 2245, the Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act, and the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 7612). H.R. 2245 represents another attempt to substitute uninformed prejudices for the management strategies of the wildlife authorities successfully conserving the world’s largest populations of lions, elephants, and other African species in their range countries. Section 436 of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 7612) represents a sweeping effort to curtail the importation of legally and sustainably harvested African game species. Read the full letter here.

HSCF OPPOSES CALIFORNIA S.B. 1175

California’s legislation, SB 1175, would ban both the importation and possession of eight commonly hunted African species, including taxidermy received after 2020. These species include elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, giraffe, hippo, hyena, and zebra. HSCF opposes this bill in that it is an attempt by the CA state government to supersede the permitting authority of the USFWS, as it relates to the possession or importation of legally harvested game animals. This bill would enact the Iconic African Species
Protection Act and would prohibit the possession of specified African species and any part, product, or the dead body or parts thereof, including, but not limited to, the African elephant or the black rhinoceros, by any individual, firm, corporation, association, or partnership within the State of California, except as specified for, among other things, use for educational or scientific purposes by a bona fide educational or scientific institution, as defined. This is an attempt to pass legislation and gain bill support, hidden behind the veil of an ongoing public health crisis, stating that its intent is to prevent the spread of zoonotic disease and prohibit wet markets. The obvious goal is an attempt to place a ban on the import of legally harvested game animals from Africa. In no way would this bill benefit wildlife species. This legislation is not enforceable and would be preempted by federal law under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 6(f), 16 USC Sec. 1535(f). States cannot permit what is prohibited by the ESA or prohibit what is authorized by an ESA exemption or permit.

RECOVERING AMERICA’S WILDLIFE ACT

The Moving Forward Act, including as an amendment in the final package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.3742) will benefit the nation’s economy by creating as many as 33,500 new jobs annually, supporting future economic growth in the outdoor recreation sector through infrastructure improvements, and increase resiliency and recovery of imperiled species and their habitats. The $1.4 billion annual investment from the Recovering
America’s Wildlife Act would lead to an additional $3.36 billion of economic output with a multiplier of 2.4 which means every federal dollar spent on species and habitat restoration would generate 2.4 times more money for the national economy, and a net positive gain of $1.96 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.

W21

Houston Safari Club Foundation (HSCF), as a member of The American Wildlife Conservation Partners, is proud to have participated with other conservation partners, in the development of Wildlife for the 21st Century: Volume VI. The document contains recommendations for the next White House Administration and the next two Congresses, as they relate to wildlife, habitat, access, and recreation. Adoption of these recommendations will improve federal agencies’ stewardship of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and habitats and enhance access to federal lands and waters for outdoor and wildlife-associated recreation, which contribute significantly to the quality of life and economic well-being of our citizens and future generations. The Outdoor Recreation Economy was estimated at 2.2 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product in 2017, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and is growing. Conserving native fish and wildlife populations and the landscapes that they depend on is essential to sustaining this important part of our economy and national identity. The document may be viewed and downloaded in its entirety here.


Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to legislative and policy initiatives that may affect the future of hunting. HSC supports initiatives that protect the tradition of hunting and hunters’ rights. We take an active role in efforts to effect policy, protocols and legislation. Our mission is to protect the rights of hunters and the hunting heritage through advocacy, policy and legislation. Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a non-profit organization, exempt from federal income tax, under section 501(c)(4) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Payments to HSC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Please contact your tax advisor concerning deductibility of any payments as business deductions. HSC EIN: 76-0082197. HSC is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization.


Houston Safari Club (HSC) is a non-profit organization, exempt from federal income tax, under section 501(c)(4) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Payments to HSC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. Please contact your tax advisor concerning deductibility of any payments as business deductions. HSC EIN: 76-0082197. HSC is an independent organization, is not affiliated with Safari Club International (SCI) or its affiliates and is not a chapter or affiliate of any other organization.