< Back to H.R. 4144 (104th Congress, 1995–1996)

Text of the Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights Act of 1996

This bill was introduced on September 24, 1996, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Sep 24, 1996 (Introduced).

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HR 4144 IH

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4144

To protect and enhance sportsmen’s opportunities and enhance wildlife conservation.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 24, 1996

Mr. BREWSTER (for himself, Mr. YOUNG of Alaska, Mr. PETE GEREN of Texas, Mr. CHAMBLISS, and Mr. CUNNINGHAM) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources, and in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To protect and enhance sportsmen’s opportunities and enhance wildlife conservation.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Sportsmen’s Bill of Rights Act of 1996’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS; POLICY.

    (a) FINDINGS- Congress finds that--

      (1) fishing is an important and traditional recreational activity in which 36,000,000 Americans 16 years old and older participate;

      (2) hunting is an important and traditional recreational activity in which 14,000,000 Americans 16 years old and older participate;

      (3) survey data from a recent comprehensive 3-year study entitled ‘Factors Related to Hunting and Fishing Participation in the United States’ suggest that 95 percent of Americans agreed fishing should remain legal and 81 percent agreed hunting should remain legal;

      (4) anglers and hunters have been and continue to be among the foremost supporters of sound wildlife management and conservation practices in the United States;

      (5) persons who hunt or fish and organizations related to those activities provide direct assistance to wildlife managers and enforcement officers of Federal, State, and local governments;

      (6) funds raised through license, permit, and stamp purchases as well as through excise taxes on goods used by anglers and hunters have generated more than $6,000,000,000 for wildlife research and management; and

      (7) fishing and hunting are essential components of effective wildlife management in that they tend to reduce conflicts between people and wildlife and provide incentives for the conservation of wildlife and habitats and ecosystems on which wildlife depends.

    (b) POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that in performing duties under Federal law, all Federal agencies that have authority to manage a natural resource or the land and water on which a natural resource depends shall exercise the authority in a manner so as to support, promote, and enhance opportunities for fishing and hunting.

SEC. 3. TAKING OF FISH AND WILDLIFE ON FEDERAL LANDS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Federal land shall be open to access and use for fishing and hunting unless--

      (1) the responsible agency of the State in which the Federal land is located limits access to and use of the land as part of wildlife management by the State; or

      (2) the Federal agency responsible for Federal public land limits access and use--

        (A) for reasons of national security; or

        (B) for reasons related to specific statutory requirements regarding the management and use of the land, if the requirements are clearly and directly incompatible with fishing or hunting.

    (b) NO PRIORITY- This section does not require a Federal agency to give preference to fishing or hunting over other uses of Federal land or land management priorities established in Federal law.

    (c) AUTHORITY OF THE STATES-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Nothing in this Act impairs the primacy of State authority in regulating the taking of fish and wildlife on land within the State, including Federal land.

      (2) FEDERAL AUTHORITY- Except as expressly provided by Act of Congress, the authority of a Federal agency regarding the taking of fish and wildlife on Federal land managed by the Federal agency shall be no greater than the rights of a private owner of land.

SEC. 4. PROTECTION OF THE INTEGRITY OF THE SPORTSMEN’S TRUST ACCOUNTS.

    (a) FUNDING OF PLANS AND PROJECTS-

      (1) FEDERAL AID IN WILDLIFE RESTORATION ACT- The Act entitled ‘An Act to provide that the United States shall aid the States in wildlife-restoration projects, and for other purposes’, approved September 2, 1937 (16 U.S.C. 669 et seq.; commonly known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act), is amended--

        (A) by striking ‘Secretary of Agriculture’ each place it appears and inserting ‘Secretary of the Interior’; and

        (B) in section 4 by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(c) The amount of funding made available to the Secretary of the Interior for expenses under this section shall not be available for use as a supplement to decreased funding for any other expense under the authority of the Secretary of the Interior.’.

      (2) FEDERAL AID IN FISH RESTORATION ACT- Section 4 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to provide that the United States shall aid the States in fish restoration and management projects, and for other purposes’, approved August 9, 1950 (16 U.S.C. 777c; commonly known as the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act), is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(f) The amount of funding made available to the Secretary of the Interior for expenses under this section shall not be available for use as a supplement to decreased funding for any other expense under the authority of the Secretary of the Interior.’.

SEC. 5. EVALUATION OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT EFFECTS.

    (a) STATEMENT- No Federal agency action that may significantly diminish opportunities or access to engage in fishing or hunting on Federal land shall be effective until the agency prepares a detailed statement evaluating the effect of the action on fishing and hunting.

    (b) NOTICE AND HEARING- Before taking an action described in subsection (a), a Federal agency shall--

      (1) provide notice of the proposed agency action to the appropriate State agency responsible for the conduct or oversight of fish and wildlife management; and

      (2) conduct a public hearing in the vicinity of the proposed action.

    (c) JUDICIAL REVIEW- An individual or entity that may be adversely affected by a loss of fishing or hunting opportunities on Federal land as a result of an agency action described in subsection (a) may bring a civil action in a United States district court for review of the action.

    (d) EMERGENCIES- Nothing in this section precludes an agency from exercising statutory authority to close Federal lands in an emergency or other exigent circumstances.

    (e) EFFECT ON OTHER LAW- Nothing in this section affects or has application to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.) or the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

SEC. 6. CLARIFICATIONS RELATING TO MAINTENANCE OF FISHING AND HUNTING OPPORTUNITIES.

    (a) DEFINITION OF POINT SOURCE- Section 502(14) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1362(14)) is amended--

      (1) by striking ‘means’ and inserting the following:

        ‘(A) means’;

      (2) by striking ‘discharged.’ and inserting ‘discharged; but’; and

      (3) by striking ‘This term does not include agricultural stormwater’ and all that follows through the end of the sentence and inserting the following:

        ‘(B) does not include--

          ‘(i) agricultural stormwater discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture; or

          ‘(ii) any conveyance that serves the purposes of directly assisting individuals engaged in fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting.’.

    (b) DREDGED OR FILL MATERIAL- Section 404(f)(1) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344(f)(1)) is amended--

      (1) by striking the comma at the end of subparagraph (F) and inserting ‘; or’; and

      (2) by inserting after subparagraph (F) the following:

        ‘(G) resulting from the conduct of fishing, hunting, or recreational shooting,’.

SEC. 7. PROMOTION OF FISHING AND HUNTING BY FEDERAL AGENCIES.

    Each Federal agency, in carrying out the Act entitled ‘An Act to provide that the United States shall aid States in wildlife-restoration projects, and for other purposes’, approved September 2, 1937 (16 U.S.C. 669 et seq.; commonly known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act), or the Act entitled ‘An Act to provide that the United States shall aid the States in fish restoration and management projects, and for other purposes’, approved August 9, 1950 (16 U.S.C. 777 et seq.; commonly known as the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act), shall seek to enhance existing programs and services and establish new programs and services that promote fishing and hunting.

SEC. 8. CIVIL ACTIONS.

    (a) INTERVENTION- A person interested in fishing or hunting shall be entitled to intervene as a matter of right in a civil action brought under any other Federal law relating to the use of any Federal land in which the plaintiff seeks an order that would require the use (or nonuse) of the land in such a manner as to impair access to or use of the land for the purpose of fishing or hunting as required by this Act.

    (b) CONSIDERATION OF INTERESTS- If an intervenor under subsection (a) shows that the application of another Federal law as sought by the plaintiff would be likely to impair access to or use of the land for the purpose of fishing or hunting as required by this Act, the court shall not grant the relief sought unless the plaintiff shows that the interest intended to be advanced by the other Federal law clearly outweighs the interest of protecting access to and use of Federal land for fishing and hunting.

SEC. 9. STANDING TO BRING A CIVIL ACTION.

    An individual who is licensed by a State to engage in fishing or hunting, or an organization representing the interests of such individuals, may bring a civil action in a United States district court to seek declaratory or injunctive relief regarding the implementation of any provision of this Act, including a declaration that a civil action brought by another person may significantly disrupt or eliminate opportunities for fishing or hunting and an injunction against the prosecution of the civil action.