The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, along with the Angling & Boating Alliance, held its second breakfast briefing of the 111th Congress on Wednesday to brief members of Congress, staff, and industry representatives concerning reauthorization of the Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund as part of the ongoing 2009 Highway Bill discussions.
Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Dan Boren and CSC Member Rep. Rob Wittman led the program and were joined by fellow CSC Members Reps. Mike Thompson, Bob Latta, Leonard Boswell, and Jason Altmire in discussing this critical funding pool for a diverse set of important state and national recreational fishing and boating programs.
"When you have a multi-billion dollar bill being crafted and debated, it would be easy for the fishing and boating community to be pushed aside," said CSF President Jeff Crane. "However, with the support of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, I believe we will once again ensure that this vitally important source of funding will be preserved in the reauthorization of the transportation bill."
The Sportfish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund serves as the backbone for fisheries conservation funding in the United States-a uniquely American System of Conservation Funding. Taxes on fishing tackle equipment, imported boats, motorboat and small engine fuel are pooled together to create this fund of about $700 million a year. Its program reach includes: recreational boating safety, fisheries management, wetlands habitat conservation, vessel pump-out stations, water and boating access infrastructure programs, aquatic resource education programs, and angler and boater outreach.
"As a Caucus, we understand the value of what is commonly referred to as the Wallop-Breaux portion of the Highway Bill and what it means to our constituents who rely on these funds to ensure quality habitat for anglers to enjoy," said Boren.
CSF would like to thank the sponsors of the breakfast briefing: American Sportfishing Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, B.A.S.S., Boat Owners Association of the United States, Marine Retailers Association of America, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, National Marine Manufacturers Association