U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes America’s Conservation Enhancement Act

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The bill would boost funding for the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by @willparson/Chesapeake Bay Program.

The bill would boost funding for the Chesapeake Bay. Photo by @willparson/Chesapeake Bay Program.

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed America’s Conservation Enhancement Act, S. 3051, a package of natural resource management and conservation provisions that the recreational sportfishing industry touts as “a massive win.”

The legislation will move to the House of Representatives, where a vote is expected as soon as next week.

“The ACE Act would be a massive win for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the country,” said American Sportfishing Association government affairs vice president Mike Leonard in a statement. “Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Tom Carper, D-Del., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., are to be commended for their tireless work to lead this bill through the Senate.”

The legislation authorizes the National Fish Habitat Partnership, an endeavor that brings together local, state and federal partners to coordinate and conduct on-the-ground aquatic habitat restoration projects for the benefit of recreational fishing.

It also protects lead fishing tackle from what ASA calls unwarranted regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency for the next five years.

Finally, it reauthorizes and boosts funding for programs critical to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, the country’s largest estuary that also serves as a critical nursery for sportfish throughout the Atlantic region.

The ACE Act previously passed the Senate in January, but negotiations with the House resulted in minor changes to the bill, requiring a vote on the updated version.

“We are optimistic that the current version of the ACE Act will be favorably considered by the House, but it’s important that anglers do their part to support this bill’s passage,” said Leonard. “There’s not much time left in the legislative calendar to get this done. Please go to Keep America Fishing and urge your Representative to vote yes on this critically important bill.”

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