In This Issue
Farm Bill Round One: Victory and Additional Concerns
Farm Bill Round One: Victory and Additional Concerns
Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill – legislation that affects every aspect of U.S. agriculture policy and funds conservation across tens of millions of acres. The League is leading a national campaign to ensure the Farm Bill prioritizes conservation and protects taxpayer investments.
The Senate bill reflects some of our priorities – most importantly, including a nationwide Sodsaver program that will help to conserve rapidly vanishing native grassland. On the other hand, the bill badly misses the mark when it comes to ensuring taxpayers receive conservation benefits in exchange for billions of dollars of financial support for producers. The bill fails to reconnect conservation compliance with subsidies for crop insurance premiums – the only agriculture subsidy exempted from requirements to protect soil and avoid or mitigate wetland losses.
The full Senate is expected to debate the bill as soon as May. As this legislation moves forward, it is critical that members of Congress hear from sportsmen and conservationists who value wetlands and native prairie. Stay tuned for Farm Bill Action Alerts in the coming months.
Last week, the Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment to permanently block the Army Corps of Engineers from adopting Clean Water Act guidance or regulations that would restore critical protections for streams, wetlands, and other waters. The League strongly opposes this amendment and is leading a campaign with other hunting, angling, and conservation groups to restore Clean Water Act protections.
On a party-line vote, the Committee picked up where it left off last year by blocking even limited steps to safeguard streams providing drinking water for 117 million Americans and wetlands vital to the nation's outdoor recreation economy. By pushing this amendment, members of Congress are out of step with the public. During a three-month public comment period last summer on draft Clean Water Act guidance, nearly 230,000 Americans commented – with 90 percent supporting the guidance.
As this legislation moves to the full House of Representatives in the weeks ahead, please stay tuned for Action Alerts and updates. It will be critical for League members and other Americans who hunt, fish, and enjoy outdoor recreation to make their voices heard in support of clean water and healthy wetlands.
Funding for restoring habitat, fish and wildlife, and natural functions along the Upper Mississippi and Missouri Rivers was approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees last week. The outcome of these actions represents a mixed bag from the League's perspective.
On the positive side, funding for restoration and recovery was not deeply cut. In addition, neither bill bars the Army Corps of Engineers from resuming planning essential to the long-term restoration of the Missouri River next fiscal year.
On the other hand, funding for Missouri River restoration and long-term planning associated with that effort continues to be a target for opponents. During committee debate, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri offered an amendment to cut $40 million from the $90 million recovery budget and shift those funds to flood control. Although the amendment was defeated on a narrow 14 to 15 vote, the fight is far from over. And challenges remain in the House as well. Last year, an amendment that derailed restoration planning was adopted on the House floor and later accepted by the Senate.
It is encouraging that the legislation currently does not block long-term restoration planning for the Missouri – but that remains a risk. Please take a minute to contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and urge them to support the Missouri River restoration budget and oppose efforts to stifle restoration in the future.
As the nation focuses on controlling federal spending and reducing our debt over the long term, the WAVE4 Act (HR 4342) would shift the burden for funding costly inland waterway infrastructure expenses onto taxpayers – possibly leaving taxpayers on the hook for more than $10 billion over the next 20 years. The WAVE4 Act will not fund necessary work to maintain existing locks and dams; instead, it will increase the backlog of needed infrastructure projects.
In a climate of fiscal restraint, it's an audacious plan that's bad for taxpayers and even worse for the environment. In fact, Taxpayers for Common Sense called this bill a "Riverboat Ripoff" because it would shift billions of dollars in costs to the taxpayer, making inland waterways the most heavily subsidized transportation system in the country.
The League and our partners in the Nicollet Island Coalition are actively opposing this bill. To learn more about this bill and how it could affect restoration on the Upper Mississippi River, visit the League's Web site.
On April 20th, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed legislation to continue the state's leadership in developing the renewable energy economy. The legislation, which the League supports and helped craft, will improve management and utilization of a special fund capitalized annually with $20 million from Xcel Energy, the state's largest electric utility.
The focus is on pre-commercial renewable electric innovations. Funding can be awarded for research and development, pilot and demonstration projects, or even to help a company that might have the next breakthrough solar technology. This fund has a broad public purpose, and an advisory panel of citizens, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations – including the League – provides input about investment decisions.
The bill's success demonstrates Minnesota's growing commitment to developing a clean energy economy that benefits the environment and strategically positions the state for economic success in the 21st century.
Making your National Convention travel plans? Plan to attend our Creek Freaks workshop the Saturday after convention. Participants will learn how to connect children ages 10-14 with nature using streams as living classrooms, including concepts of stream ecology, how to run hands-on stream exploration activities, and using the Creek Freaks Web site to enter stream data, photos, and videos.
Whether you are looking for hands-on activities for an existing youth program or you want to start a new program at your chapter, Creek Freaks is an excellent way to share your love of the outdoors with kids in your community.
Event Details: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 9am-5pm, Lincoln, Nebraska. $30 registration fee includes lunch and training materials. E-mail IWLA Clean Water Program Director Leah Miller for more information and to put your name on the preregistration list.
Whether you are looking for hands-on activities for an existing youth program or you want to start a new program at your chapter, Creek Freaks is an excellent way to share your love of the outdoors with kids in your community. Event Details: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 9am-5pm, Lincoln, Nebraska. $30 registration fee includes lunch and training materials. E-mail IWLA Clean Water Program Director Leah Miller for more information and to put your name on the preregistration list.
The Izaak Walton League is partnering with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal, state, and local organizations on the 2012 Summer of Paddling on the Mississippi River. This is a great way to engage your community in outdoor recreation and build a love for a river that has been central to the League's conservation mission since 1922.
Find an event near you or register your paddling event on the Summer of Paddling Web site. Need ideas for putting together your Mississippi River Summer of Paddling event? E-mail Olivia Dorothy, the League's Upper Mississippi River Coordinator.
It's your last chance to nominate League members and supporters for their commitment to conservation. Nomination deadline: June 1, 2012.
Questions? Contact Tara Scibelli at (800) IKE-LINE (453-5463) x255 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you've been waiting to buy your IWLA-branded Golden Boy rifle, now is the time. Henry Repeating Arms Company has produced a limited-edition rifle to celebrate the League's 90th anniversary.
The company's award-winning, lever-action .22LR rifle has a two-sided receiver embellishment of the League's anniversary slogan and a laser engraved 90th anniversary seal. These rifles are perfect for your chapter fundraisers and events or for your personal collection. You can download the order form at www.iwla.org/shootingsports or call the League's national office at (800) IKE-LINE (453-5463) for more information.
Do you know a recent college graduate or young person who is interested in working on clean water issues and environmental education in Maryland? Through a partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), the League has a paid 12-month entry level opportunity beginning in August.
The position will focus on providing outdoor and stream ecology education to children, recruiting and training volunteers to conduct water quality monitoring, and reaching out to homeowners about residential stormwater management techniques. This position is 40 hours per week and will be based at the League's national headquarters in Gaithersburg, MD. The Chesapeake Bay Trust provides a monthly stipend and benefits. To read the full position description, visit the League Web site. Application deadline: May 14, 2012.
90 Years of Defending Outdoor America
To commemorate the League's 90th anniversary, we are proud to announce our "$90 for 90" campaign. Donate $90 or more to the League, and you will receive our limited-edition Snapshots in Conservation anthology.
Your contribution will also support the League's national conservation work. Please visit the League Web site for more information.
Resource of the Month: Name Badges
Make a great first impression at your next community event, at division and national meetings, and with new members at your chapter. Order an Izaak Walton League name badge. These sturdy badges can be engraved with your name, title, and chapter or division name.
Download an order form (PDF) to order yours today. Get a bulk discount by placing one order for all your officers!
Remember Someone Special
As you're thinking of loved ones who are no longer with you this upcoming Memorial Day, consider donating to the League in their memory.
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