Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 08:58:28 -0500
Reply-To: EJ Williams <EJ_Williams@MAIL.DNR.STATE.GA.US>
Sender: Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: EJ Williams <EJ_Williams@MAIL.DNR.STATE.GA.US>
Subject: CARA Press Release
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Following is a press release from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, please contact:
Michelle Aldenderfer- Public Affairs Coordinator (770) 918-6400
HISTORIC CONSERVATION BILL PASSES MAJOR LANDMARK IN US SENATE
Bill would bring $40 million to Georgia
SOCIAL CIRCLE, GA (July 25, 2000) --The bipartisan Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA, H.R. 701) passed a major milestone today when the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-7 to move this historic conservation legislation to the Senate floor for full consideration, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD). This landmark legislation would provide the largest infusion of federal funds in history, $40 billion over the next 15 years, with Georgia receiving $40 million for wildlife conservation, historic preservation, coastal protection, state and local parks and recreation areas, and other conservation programs.
"The citizens of Georgia clearly expressed support of this bill when they were successful in getting nine of the eleven Georgia Representatives in the U.S. House to vote in favor of the bill in May," said David Waller, President of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) and Director of the Georgia Division of Wildlife Resources. "Now it is time to let our Senators Max Cleland and recently appointed Senator Zell Miller know that the people of Georgia want this bill to pass to provide Georgia and all other states in this nation with a much-overdue source of permanent funding for our conservation needs."
CARA provides significant funding for America's wildlife, parks, coasts, forests, hiking trails, rivers and wetlands. The bill dedicates revenue collected from offshore oil and gas leases to a broad range of conservation activities, including land and water restoration, conservation easements and purchases, and wildlife conservation, recreation, and education. The House of Representative passed similar legislation in May 2000 by a strong bipartisan vote of 315-102.
The Senate's bipartisan compromise of CARA, crafted by Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Democrat Jeff Bingaman (NM), represents a strong and balanced approach that will protect parks, wildlife, coastlines, and cultural and historic sites at the national, state, and local levels for years to come. Over 52 Senators are now cosponsoring CARA or related legislation that would reinvest federal outer continental shelf oil and gas revenue into conservation indicating the real need for comprehensive conservation legislation like CARA. In addition, all 50 governors have voiced support for these bills or their concepts and have worked to move this legislation through Congress.
Title III of the Conservation & Reinvestment Act provides funds for a diverse array of fish and wildlife species, with an emphasis on preventing species from becoming endangered. This is especially important for non-game wildlife conservation efforts, which lack a permanent long-term funding source in most states, including Georgia. This historic lack of funding has lead to many species becoming endangered before a state wildlife manager has the funds to act on their behalf.
"The momentum in Congress this year for CARA is unprecedented," said Waller. "We must take advantage of the incredible bipartisan support CARA has garnered this year and get it passed. I hope states realize what the passage of this bill will mean to conservation in this country. Not since the Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Acts were passed have we had an opportunity to do so much good for the future of conservation."
Historically, state fish and wildlife agencies have provided funding for the conservation of game species, but have struggled to provide adequate funding for conserving those "nongame" species not hunted or fished. Expanded funding is necessary for states to protect the full spectrum of wildlife. CARA will allow states to employ a much needed prevention approach to wildlife conservation in an attempt to avoid the future listing of endangered species, along with wildlife-associated education and recreation.
The Senate version of the CARA bill would reinvest approximately $3 billion annually in federal Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas revenue back into natural resources conservation. The $40 million for Georgia is broken down in the following ways under the House version of the bill (HR 701). It is unclear at this time how the Senate version will differ in the amount of money invested in Georgia:
Title 1 * Coastal Impact Assistance $6.7 million
Title 2 * Land & Water Conservation Fund $15.9 million
Title 3 * Wildlife Conservation Fund $8.8 million
Title 4 * Urban Park & Recreation Recovery $1.9 million
Title 5 * Historic Preservation Fund $2.4 million
Title 6 * Federal & Indians Land Restoration $1.7 million
Title 7 * Conservation Easements $1.3 million
Total $38.7 million
The Senate version has also included some additional funding for programs such as the Youth Conservation Corps, full funding of the payment in lieu of taxes program, and funding for conservation law enforcement efforts.
Presently, Georgia relies on non-permanent funding sources for its nongame conservation efforts. While the wildlife license plate has provided over $9 million for wildlife programs over a five year period, it will face increased competition in the coming years from other vehicle tags. The Give Wildlife a Chance tax check-off is another source of funding, but is also vulnerable to competition providing no consistent source of money. Finally, the nongame program has relied on fundraisers, such as the annual Weekend for Wildlife event and private donations, to meet the increasing demands on the state's resources. CARA will provide the first-ever permanent source of funds for nongame conservation in Georgia.
For additional information on CARA visit the website www.teaming.com or contact Georgia Wildlife Resources Division Headquarters at (770) 918-6400.
Emily Jo Williams
Partners in Flight
Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
116 Rum Creek Drive, Forsyth GA 31029
ph 912-994-1438 fax 912-993-3050