House Advances Bills to Promote Recreational Access to Public Lands, Improve Efficiency of Federal Agencies

Feb 6, 2014 Issues: Agriculture, Allegheny National Forest

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, PA-5, voted to support H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which seeks to protect hunting, fishing and the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle on public lands, and H.R. 2954, the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act, which enhances federal regulations dealing with public land restoration and related land conveyances.

“Each year, close to $90 billion is created through recreational activities such as hunting and fishing,” Thompson stated. “Passage of the SHARE Act aims to protect local jobs and economies by guaranteeing public access to taxpayer-owned lands.”

H.R. 3590 and H.R. 2954 were put forward by the House Natural Resources, on which Thompson serves. Both bills are composed of a compilation of individual and bipartisan bills.

“The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act reinforces the idea that our public lands should be for multiple uses,” said Thompson. “This measure will ensure that our local communities can utilize our public treasures in order to promote economic development, jobs, and responsible land management.”

H.R. 2954 includes the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act, which requires greater transparency from the Environmental Protection Agency and aims to reduce the duplication of federal and state efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Thompson, as Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation Energy & Forestry, has jurisdiction over national watersheds. The subcommittee, which successfully advanced substantial improvements to national conservation programs through the recently passed Farm Bill, has pursued thorough oversight of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts.  

“Currently restoration efforts from federal and state governments lack a cohesive reporting system of their activities,” stated Thompson. “The Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act helps preserve the delicate balance between economic growth and environmental stewardship, while lowering the burden on farmers and conservationists that have made tremendous progress through voluntary conservation efforts.”

H.R. 3590 passed Wednesday by a vote of 268 to 154 and H.R. 2954 passed Thursday by a vote of 220-194.