WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released the following statement after the House passed America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act.
“Today, the House of Representatives approved my bipartisan legislation with Chairman Barrasso that supports wildlife conservation and habitat restoration efforts across the country. America’s Conservation Enhancement Act builds on state and stakeholder commitments to restore wetlands and improve water quality by reauthorizing effective programs like the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund and the Chesapeake Bay Program.
“While helping to protect and restore important habitats, the conservation efforts supported by the ACE Act also help to fuel multibillion-dollar fishing and ecotourism industries. For example, the Chesapeake Bay is an immense and diverse ecosystem that is home to thousands of species, and it’s also an economic engine for our entire region, home to major shipping ports and a multi-billion-dollar commercial fishing industry. The Bay also attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to our region each year to enjoy outdoor recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, birding and boating.
“The ACE Act will help to drive the development of new and innovative solutions for growing threats like invasive species and wildlife disease – threats we know will only become more challenging with our changing climate. This legislation is a bipartisan win for conservation and outdoor recreation, and I thank our colleagues in the House for their support.”
Among its provisions, the ACE Act will:
- Reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act until 2025;
- Reauthorize the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act until 2025;
- Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2025;
- Reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails network and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Grants Assistance Program until 2025;
- Authorize the Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense Program until 2025;
- Commission a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding the pathways and mechanisms of the transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the United States;
- Establish a CWD task force to develop an interstate action plan for state and federal cooperation relating to the disease;
- Authorize funds to combat the threat of invasive species; and
- Encourage partnerships among public agencies and other interested parties for promoting fish conservation.
On December 13, 2019, Senator Carper and Senator Barrasso introduced the ACE Act (S. 3051) along with Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.). Later that month, the EPW Committee unanimously approved the ACE Act.
On September 17, 2020, the ACE Act passed the Senate in the form of a substitute amendment to S. 3051 that was negotiated with the House of Representatives. Now, with House passage of the legislation, it is set to be signed into law.