Coleman Introduces Wetlands Loan Act
Senator authors bill to accelerate conservation of critical wetland habitat
Saint Paul, Minn. - January 16 -
In an effort to accelerate conservation of vital wetland habitat in Minnesota and across the country, Senator Norm Coleman has introduced the Wetlands Loan Act of 2007 (S. 272). The bill, which has widespread support from several conservation and sportsmen groups, is aimed at increasing current available resources to retain wetlands that have come under increasing development pressure from competing land use interests. The bill would double the amount of resources available through the Duck Stamp fund for wetlands conservation over the next ten years.
"In Minnesota and across the country, the amount of critical wetland habitat is steadily decreasing and often disappearing," said Coleman. "If we do not tackle this problem, future generations will not be able to enjoy the benefits of healthy wetlands so important to waterfowl and to our quality of life. The Wetlands Loan Act has a long history of strong bipartisan support, and I look forward to working with colleagues from both sides of the aisle and all regions of the country to move this important legislation forward during this session of Congress."
"We applaud the efforts of Senator Coleman in recognizing the need to accelerate the protection of critical waterfowl habitat by introducing the Wetlands Loan Act, " said Scott Sutherland, director of Ducks Unlimited's Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. "The United States continues to lose essential wetlands and grasslands at an alarming rate and an advance in federal duck stamp revenue would help to stop the loss before it is too late."
"Conserving wetlands and associated upland habitat is critical for waterfowl, pheasants and all wildlife," said of Pheasants Forever President and CEO Howard Vincent. "Pheasants Forever appreciates Senator Coleman's leadership in the Senate and we look forward to working with him and others to secure passage of this important legislation."
Specifically, the Wetlands Loan Act will accelerate the conservation of wetlands in the near-term by borrowing $400 million against future Duck Stamp revenues. The additional revenues would be used primarily to purchase conservation easements or acquire property from willing, private landowners for the conservation and restoration of wetlands and grasslands valuable to migratory waterfowl as breeding grounds. The cost of the loan would be offset by an incremental increase in the price of the Federal Duck Stamp.
"The cost of the conservation of wetlands is skyrocketing faster than we can keep up," Coleman added. "We need to accelerate our efforts to conserve for the future at today's prices, and this bill takes a major step in that direction by allowing conservation of critical habitat sooner rather than later."
Coleman introduced the Wetlands Loan Act late last week and it has been referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Minnesota Press Secretary
Senator Norm Coleman
Pheasants Forever is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasants, quail and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness and education. Such efforts benefit landowners and wildlife alike.