< Back to H.R. 2735 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the National Wildlife Refuge System Operations Enhancement Act of 2007

This bill was introduced on June 14, 2007, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 14, 2007 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2735

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 14, 2007

(for himself and Mr. Thompson of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, and in addition to the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Ways and Means, 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 provide additional funding for operation of national wildlife refuges.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Wildlife Refuge System Operations Enhancement Act of 2007.

2.

Findings and purpose

(a)

Findings

The Congress finds the following:

(1)

The National Wildlife Refuge System is a unique network of Federal lands that provides wildlife dependent recreational opportunities to the overwhelming majority of the 40 million people who visit at least one refuge in a year.

(2)

There are 547 national wildlife refuges comprised of 96 million acres of Federal land. These refuges are located in every State, island possession, and territory of the United States. These lands are a national treasure.

(3)

A decade ago, the Congress enacted the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (Public Law 105–97), which was a landmark law that established for the first time an organic statute and mission statement for the System.

(4)

Four years ago, the National Wildlife Refuge System celebrated the 100th anniversary of the designation of the first refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt at Pelican Island, Florida on March 14, 1903.

(5)

In commemoration of that historic event, the Congress created the National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Commission and appropriated the highest level of funding ever for refuge operations.

(6)

Since the end of that anniversary celebration, however, funding for refuge operations has significantly declined, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has not received adequate funding to offset either inflation or uncontrollable fixed costs like salary and benefit increases, energy costs, and General Services Administration rent adjustments.

(7)

The net result is that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service now has 600 vacant positions with a total workforce of only 9,000 full-time employees. There are also now 86 refuges that are closed to the public and 188 refuges that are unstaffed.

(8)

According to the Cooperative Alliance for Refuge Enhancement, a coalition of 20 conservation and hunting organizations including Ducks Unlimited, the National Audubon Society, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, “[t]he National Wildlife Refuge System faces a crippling conservation deficit”.

(9)

According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with respect to the Northeast Region of the Service, “[i]n three years, 74 percent of the national wildlife refuges (70 refuges) would be operating either ‘in the red’ or at crisis levels, in 5 years, 89 percent, and in 7 years, 93 percent”. This funding crisis is being felt throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System.

(10)

It is essential that the Congress appropriate additional funds for refuge operations and enact new funding mechanisms that alleviate some, if not all, of these staggering operational deficits.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish new funding mechanisms to pay for the otherwise unfunded costs of operating and maintaining the National Wildlife Refuge System.

I

Migratory bird hunting stamps

101.

Price of stamp

(a)

Increase in price

(1)

In general

Sections 2(b) of the Act of March 16, 1934 (chapter 71; 16 U.S.C. 718b(b)), popularly known as the Duck Stamp Act, is amended to read as follows:

(b)

Price of stamp

A person authorized to sell stamps under this section shall collect, for each stamp sold—

(1)

$20 for a stamp for any of hunting years 2008 through 2010; and

(2)

$25 for a stamp for each hunting year after hunting year 2010.

.

(2)

Limitation on application

This subsection shall not affect the application of section 2 of such Act before July 1, 2008.

(b)

Use of additional funds

Section 4(b) of such Act (16 U.S.C. 718d(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking So much and inserting Subject to paragraph (3), so much;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking paragraph (3) and subsection (c) and inserting paragraphs (3) and (4); and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Refuge operations

The amount received for each stamp sold in excess of $15.00 shall be used by the Secretary for the costs of national wildlife refuge operations.

.

102.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of the Congress that nothing in this title should directly or indirectly cause a net decrease in total funds received by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for national wildlife refuge operations account below the level that would otherwise have been received but for the enactment of this section.

II

Special postage stamp

201.

Short title

This title may be cited as the National Wildlife Refuge System Semipostal Stamp Act of 2007.

202.

Special postage stamp for the National Wildlife Refuge System

(a)

In general

In order to afford a convenient way for members of the public to contribute to funding for the operations of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the United States Postal Service shall provide for a special postage stamp in accordance with subsection (b).

(b)

Terms and conditions

The issuance and sale of the stamp referred to in subsection (a) shall be governed by section 416 of title 39, United States Code, and regulations under such section, subject to the following:

(1)

Disposition of proceeds

All amounts becoming available from the sale of such stamp shall be transferred to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, for the purpose described in subsection (a), through payments which shall be made at least twice a year.

(2)

Duration

Such stamp shall be made available to the public for a period of at least 3 years, beginning no later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(3)

Limitation

Such stamp shall not be counted for purposes of applying any numerical limitation under subsection (e)(1)(C) of such section.

III

Designation of income tax overpayment

301.

Short title

This title may be cited as National Wildlife Refuge Checkoff Act of 2007.

302.

Designation of overpayments and contributions for the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund

(a)

In general

Subchapter A of chapter 61 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to returns and records) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new part:

IX

Designation of overpayments and contributions for the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund

Sec. 6097. Amounts for National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund.

6097.

Amounts for National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund

(a)

In general

With respect to each taxpayer’s return for the taxable year of the tax imposed by chapter 1, such taxpayer may designate that—

(1)

$1 of any overpayment of such tax for such taxable year, and

(2)

any cash contribution which the taxpayer includes with such return,

be paid over to the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund.
(b)

Joint returns

In the case of a joint return showing an overpayment of $2 or more, each spouse may designate $1 of such overpayment under subsection (a)(1).

(c)

Manner and time of designation

A designation under subsection (a) may be made with respect to any taxable year only at the time of filing the return of the tax imposed by chapter 1 for such taxable year. Such designation shall be made on the first page of the return.

(d)

Overpayments treated as refunded

For purposes of this title, any overpayment of tax designated under subsection (a) shall be treated as being refunded to the taxpayer as of the last date prescribed for filing the return of tax imposed by chapter 1 (determined without regard to extensions) or, if later, the date the return is filed.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of parts for subchapter A of chapter 61 of such Code is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new item:

Part IX. Designation of overpayments and contributions for the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund.

.

(c)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years ending after the date of enactment of this Act.

303.

Establishment of National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund

(a)

In general

Subchapter A of chapter 98 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to trust fund code) is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new section:

9511.

National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund

(a)

Creation of trust fund

There is established in the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund, consisting of such amounts as may be appropriated or credited to the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund as provided in this section or section 9602(b).

(b)

Transfer to National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund of amounts designated

There is hereby appropriated to the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund amounts equivalent to the amounts designated under section 6097 and received in the Treasury.

(c)

Expenditures from trust fund

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall pay, not less often than quarterly, to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund an amount equal to the amount in such Fund as of the time of such payment less any administrative expenses of the Secretary which may be paid under paragraph (2).

(2)

Administrative expenses

Amounts in the National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund shall be available to pay the administrative expenses of the Department of the Treasury directly allocable to—

(A)

modifying the individual income tax return forms to carry out section 6097,

(B)

carrying out this chapter with respect to such Fund, and

(C)

processing amounts received under section 6097 and transferring such amounts to such Fund.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections for such subchapter A is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new item:

Sec. 9511. National Wildlife Refuge System Trust Fund.

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