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Committee on AgricultureConservation and ForestryCommittee on Natural ResourcesIntroducedMay 3rd, 2013
- house Committees
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Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act
To direct Federal public land management officials to exercise their authority under existing law to facilitate use of and access to Federal public lands for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting, and for other purposes.
Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act - Requires federal public land management officials to facilitate the use of, and access to, federal public lands, including National Monuments, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, or lands administratively classified as wilderness eligible or suitable and primitive or semi-primitive areas, for fishing, sport hunting, and recreational shooting, except as limited by: (1) statutory authority that authorizes or withholds action for reasons of national security, public safety, or resource conservation; (2) any other federal statute that specifically precludes recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting on specific federal public lands or waters; and (3) discretionary limitations on recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting determined to be necessary and reasonable as supported by the best scientific evidence and advanced through a transparent public process. Requires the heads of federal public land management agencies to exercise their discretion in a manner that supports and facilitates recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting opportunities, to the extent authorized under applicable federal and state law. Requires public land planning documents to include specific evaluations of their effects on opportunities to engage in recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting. Prohibits any action taken under this Act or concerning the National Wildlife Refuge System under the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, from being considered to be a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Declares that no additional identification, analysis, or consideration of environmental effects, including cumulative effects, is necessary or required. Prohibits federal public land management officials from being required to consider the existence or availability of recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting opportunities on adjacent or nearby public or private lands in the planning for, or determination of, which federal public lands are open for such activities or in the setting of levels of use for such activities, unless the combination or coordination of such opportunities would enhance the recreational fishing, hunting, or shooting opportunities available to the public. Requires Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands, except those on the Outer Continental Shelf, to be open to recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting unless the managing agency acts to close them to such activity for purposes of resource conservation, public safety, energy or mineral production, energy generation or transmission infrastructure, water supply facilities, protection of other permittees, protection of private property rights or interest, national security, or compliance with other law. Requires the heads of federal agencies to use their authorities consistently with this Act to: (1) lease or permit use of their lands for shooting ranges, and (2) designate specific lands for recreational shooting activities. Prohibits such designation from subjecting the United States to any civil action or claim for damages for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by any activity occurring at or on such designated land. Declares that the provision of opportunities for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and the conservation of fish and wildlife to provide sustainable use recreational opportunities on designated federal wilderness areas constitutes the measures necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of such areas. Denies, however, that this determination authorizes or facilitates commodity development, use, or extraction, motorized recreational access or use that is not otherwise allowed under the Wilderness Act, or permanent road construction or maintenance within designated wilderness areas. Reaffirms provisions of the Wilderness Act stipulating that wilderness purposes are "within and supplemental to" the purposes of the underlying federal land unit. Requires the heads of federal agencies, when seeking to carry out fish and wildlife conservation programs and projects or provide fish and wildlife dependent recreation opportunities on designated wilderness areas, to implement those supplemental purposes so as to facilitate and/or enhance, but not to impede, the underlying federal land purposes. Declares that such implementation shall not authorize or facilitate commodity development, use or extraction, or permanent road construction or use within those areas. Requires biennial reports on federal public lands closed to recreational fishing, sport hunting, or shooting. Sets forth requirements for any permanent or temporary withdrawal, change of classification, or change of management status that effectively closes or significantly restricts 640 or more contiguous acres of federal public lands for fishing or hunting or related activities. States that nothing in this Act prohibits a federal land management agency from establishing or implementing emergency closures or restrictions of the smallest practicable area to provide for public safety, resource conservation, national security, or other purposes authorized by law. Requires such an emergency closure to terminate after a reasonable period unless converted to a permanent closure consistent with this Act.