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Mr. GRIFFIN from Arkansas. Mr. Chairman, I rise to offer an amendment which will leverage our limited resources for wetlands and wildlife conservation.
My amendment would transfer $3 million to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, or NAWCA, by reducing the EPA's operations and administration budget by the same amount.
The EPA has been overfunded in recent years, and I appreciate Subcommittee Chairman Simpson's efforts to bring the agency's budget back down to size.
This amendment makes a reasonable reduction to the EPA's administrative budget in favor of wetland conservation.
Since this organization was established in 1989, more than 1,800 projects have led to the conservation of over 24 million acres of wetlands across North America. Each of these projects is funded through a public/private partnership. And for every dollar of the organization's money that is spent in my home State of Arkansas, private sources and foundations have given $4 in matching funds.
In Arkansas alone, 12 of these projects are either completed or currently under way. And these projects have conserved over 64,000 acres of wetlands.
Make no mistake, this success story is not limited to Arkansas. Wetlands, wildlife, and outdoorsmen in every single State in the country have seen the benefits of this conservation effort.
Arkansas sits in the cradle of the Mississippi flyway, a migration route used by waterfowl as they fly to the southern United States each autumn. Migratory waterfowl and other birds often settle in the wetlands along the White River and Arkansas River, and the health of these habitats is closely tied to the health of the wildlife which inhabit them.
This amendment would improve the condition of our Nation's wetlands and wildlife. This is important to sportsmen, conservationists, and anyone who enjoys the American outdoors.
I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense conservation amendment.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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