This bill would revise existing programs and establish new laws related to the management of federal lands with the goal of expanding access and opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on those lands.
The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act would be revised to allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other agencies of the Dept. of the Interior (DOI) to use funds from the sale of lands they administer to purchase inholdings (private land surrounded by federal land). It’s expected that extending this authorization will lead to more sales and purchases by the agencies, rising from a projected level of $7 million during the 2016-2022 period to $36 million.
Also included within this bill would be the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which opens up wilderness areas and other lands managed by BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to fishing, hunting, and recreational shooting. Causes for restrictions to remain in place would include public safety or national security concerns, and other federal laws precluding those activities, in addition to discretionary limits established through a public, scientific process.
Under this legislation the authority of the DOI and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to regulate the use of ammunition and fishing tackle based on its lead content would be limited. Components of firearms, ammunition, and sport fishing equipment would be exempted from chemical substances regulations under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
An existing law known as the Pittman-Robertson WIldlife Restoration Act would be amended to:
Increase the proportion of funding from the Act that states may use to acquire land for public target ranges;
Delay by 10 years until 2026 the date after which interest from the wildlife conservation and restoration fund is available for apportionment.
The National Park Service (NPS) would be authorized to establish hunter access corridors, but wouldn’t be able to prohibit individuals from transporting bows and crossbows if certain requirements are met. Standards used to determine what constitutes a ‘baited area’ related to the prohibition on taking migratory game birds would be revised.
This bill also contains a provision aimed at preventing the illicit trafficking of animal products by requiring verification that imported polar bear parts were taken legally from approved populations in Canada before the animal was listed as threatened in 2008. Programs related to African Elephant conservation would be reauthorized through fiscal year 2020 at a funding level of $5 million per year.
The Army Corps of Engineers would be blocked from prohibiting the possession of a firearm in public areas of a water resources development project.