SCI Federal Advocacy Updates

Holding the Biden Administration Accountable: Senator Cynthia Lummis (WY) and fourteen of her colleagues in the Senate introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproving of critical habitat designation regulations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Last year, the Biden Administration rescinded the 2020 Trump Administration rule that stated that habitat must be “occupied”, meaning the species currently or periodically inhabits the area, to be considered critical habitat under the ESA. This reform was essential in preventing land management agencies from designating vast swaths of land as critical habitat that do not actually contain populations of the species in question. The recission by the Biden Administration once again gives agencies blanket authority to designate critical habitat to control land and prevent multiple use, not species recovery. SCI applauds Senator Lummis for standing against this baseless regulation and overt government overreach.

Supporting hunting opportunities: SCI joined the 36 hunting and conservation partners in this letter to support the Voluntary Public Access Improvement Act of 2023. Senator Steve Daines (MT) was joined by Senators Roger Marshall (KS) and Michael Bennet (CO) in reintroducing this legislation to expand public opportunities for hunting in America. This bill would reauthorize and strengthen the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) by increasing funding from $50 million to $150 million over 5 years. The VPA-HIP provides competitive grants to states and tribal governments to be used to incentivize private landowners to voluntarily open their lands for public use while upholding private property rights. These grants have helped facilitate the opening of 60,000 acres for hunting and increased public access in Montana. SCI thanks Senator Daines and his colleagues for continuing to support hunting access and SCI’s No-Net-Loss policy.