The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 4089) to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting:
Mr. BOREN. Madam Chair, as a Congressman serving on the House Committee on Natural Resources and the past Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, I support America's sportsmen and the acclaimed activities of hunting and recreational fishing and shooting through the enactment of H.R. 4089.
H.R. 4089 is essential to recognizing the importance of and facilitating the expansion and enhancement of hunting and recreational fishing and shooting. It is a compilation of four different bills (H.R. 2834, H.R. 3440, H.R. 991 and H.R. 1558) that promote and advance these time-honored traditions. The Sportsmen's Heritage Act reaffirms that hunting and recreational fishing and shooting are important activities by providing a sound legislative foundation for the advancement of America's sporting heritage.
Seventy-five years ago, the conservation community, including hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and related industries, supported the use of funds from an excise tax on firearms and ammunition--along with the dedicated revenue from hunting and fishing licenses--to be used exclusively by state fish and wildlife agencies to professionally manage fish and wildlife populations and provide access for sportsmen and the larger public to enjoy the benefits of this management. This funding mechanism was eventually expanded to include the fishing and boating communities as well as the archery community. Accordingly, these groups produced the American System of Conservation Funding: a unique ``user pays--public benefits'' approach. This user-pays funding strategy has produced numerous public benefits including: abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, wetland protection and associated water filtration and flood retention functions, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges and boating access facilities that are available for the enjoyment of the entirety of the American public--hunters and non-hunters alike. In addition, sportsmen are an economic powerhouse. They directly support jobs, generate billions of dollars in Federal, State and local tax revenues, and invigorate the economies of local communities by spending their money on travel, lodging, food, sporting equipment, and so much more while participating in their sport.
Hunting and recreational fishing and shooting are the beating heart of conservation in the United States. This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program--a program supported and made possible by the dollars of our Nation's sportsmen. Given the current celebration of the success of this program, it seems timely to support our sportsmen by enacting legislation that will provide them with more opportunities to participate in their sport. We as a legislature must come together--overcoming partisanship and working collaboratively with our partners in the Senate--to promote, advance and protect our Nation's sporting heritage. I support our Nation's sportsmen and I urge you to join me in supporting H.R. 4089.