1996 Scorecard Vote
Wildlife conservation has been the primary purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System since its creation in 1903, but, unlike other agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates under a variety of laws and executive orders rather than a unified organic act. While touted as that organic act by its sponsor House Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK), H.R. 1675 would actually weaken conservation-oriented management of refuges and increase risks to wildlife and habitat. H.R. 1675 would establish hunting and other wildlife recreation uses as purposes of the Refuge System, equal in importance to wildlife conservation.
Hunters, through the purchase of duck stamps, and other wildlife enthusiasts have long supported acquisition of land for the system, even when hunting was limited to a few refuges. Currently, 90 percent of the Refuge System acreage is open to hunting and fishing, but managers, most familiar with the needs of each refuge, determine which uses are compatible with wildlife conservation on a case-by-case basis. H.R. 1675 would instead create a presumption that hunting and other wildlife recreation are always compatible. The bill would facilitate expanded military operations on refuges by waiving compatibility requirements for such activities. H.R. 1675 would also make it difficult to add new land to refuges, requiring a special act of Congress for most new refuges, and would allow the transfer of federal refuges to the states.
On April 24, 1996, the House passed H.R. 1675, 287 - 138. NO is the pro-environment vote.