A House committee today approved legislation authored by U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) to name the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge for the late Sam D. Hamilton, a Starkville native who was director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
By unanimous consent, the House Committee on Natural Resources on Wednesday approved S.266, a measure that would designate the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge as the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. Introduced by Cochran earlier this year and passed by the Senate in February, S.266 is now available for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
"I appreciate the House Resources Committee's action on this bill and I look forward to its consideration on the floor of the House," Cochran said. "Sam Hamilton's dedication to preserving wildlife habitat and natural resources earned him respect among many people. My legislation pays tribute to his dedication and his service to Mississippi and the nation."
Congressman Gregg Harper, who introduced a House companion measure (HR.588) to Cochran's bill, testified in April before the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs in support of his proposal.
"Renaming the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge is a fitting tribute for a man who devoted his life and career to wildlife conservation," Harper said.
Hamilton died in February 2010. At the time, he was director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hamilton had a 30-year career with the agency and was recognized following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for his work to restore coastal wetland and wildlife habitats. He had also been recognized for his efforts to promote restoration of the Florida everglades.
Before graduating from Mississippi State University, Hamilton worked with the Youth Conservation Corps on the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge.
Located in east-central Mississippi, the Noxubee Refuge covers 48,000 square acres and is a resting and feeding area for migratory birds.
Cochran introduced similar legislation in March 2010 and gained support for it from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who recalled Hamilton as a consensus builder on cooperative conservation projects. That legislation was not enacted before the end of the 111th Congress.
Cochran, who serves on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, is vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and is a member of the subcommittee that funds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other Interior Department agencies.