Conservation funding parity bill clears committee


WASHINGTON, D.C.—Delegate Madeleine Z. Bordallo announced yesterday that the House Committee on Natural Resources has favorably reported H.R. 5875, a bill she introduced to provide parity for the five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia with the 50 states under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts’ federal funding formulas. The bill was reported unanimously to the full House of Representatives for consideration. 

H.R. 5875 is cosponsored the other five members of Congress representing U.S. territories and the District of Columbia: Reps. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), Stacey E. Plaskett (D-USVI), Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (D-NMI), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC).

The Pittman-Robertson Act provides federal funding to support wildlife conservation and hunter safety projects nationwide.

The Dingell-Johnson Act does the same for fish conservation, coastal restoration, boating safety, vessel sanitation, aquatic education, and public access for recreational boating.

Both laws provide funding in support of local management of fish and wildlife resources. Each state/territorial fish and wildlife agency receives a yearly allocation of this federal funding, from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bordallo’s H.R. 5875 would remove outdated and arbitrary caps in current law that prevent the five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia from receiving full, state-equivalent shares of this federal funding, at no cost to taxpayers. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s funding levels for fiscal year 2018 announced in March show the current funding disparity: Washington, D.C. is allotted just $1.17 million for fiscal year 2018; Puerto Rico, $7 million; while the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands each got $2.5 million.

In comparison, Delaware, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont each got $8.3 million.

“I thank Chairman Bishop and my colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee for their unanimous support of my bill to give Guam and the other territories parity in receiving federal funding from conservation, outdoor recreation, boating, and sport fishing fees,” Bordallo said. “This bill continues my efforts to bring more federal resources to Guam and treat our island fairly in all federal programs. My bill would provide more than three times more federal funding from these programs, which would amount to millions of additional federal dollars for GovGuam. I am working to advance this bill on the House floor so we can ensure that Guam and the other territories receive our equal share from these federal programs.” (PR)

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