Published since 1946
Congress Passes Water Infrastructure, Outdoor Economy Bills
Congress failed to reach agreement on energy policy reform including sportsmen?s legislation, however last minute negotiations allowed a few other pieces of legislation to head to the President?s desk before Congress adjourned for the remainder of this year. On December 8, President Obama signed into law the Outdoor REC Act, legislation that will include outdoor recreation economic data as part of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. The next weekend, the Senate passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (S. 612) that authorizes $1.95 billion for the Central Everglades Planning Project as well as restoration projects in the Great Lakes, Delaware River, and more. However, the bill included a last-minute addition by House members that would divert water away from salmon fisheries in California to address ongoing drought in the state. Late night action in the hours before adjournment also resulted in passage of the National Park Service Centennial Act () that would raise some park fees to increase funding to address the maintenance backlog, and would also create an endowment within the National Park Foundation. In addition, a provision that would have allowed state sage grouse management plans to supersede federal land use plans was removed from the National Defense Authorization Act before that bill was voted on and sent to the President. While significant effort was put into negotiating a compromise energy package, which included several sportsmen?s provisions, the conference ultimately fell apart without completing a bill. The chambers were also unable to negotiate funding agreements and passed a short-term spending bill that will keep government agencies operating until April 28.