1997 Voto de la Tarjeta de Evaluaciones
The 92 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System has operated without an explicit mission since its creation in 1903. As a consequence, many uses that are incompatible with wildlife protection have been allowed to occur on some refuges, including farming, cattle grazing, and oil and gas production. At least three congresses have attempted to establish a legislative mandate for the Refuge System but were unable to resolve differences over what human uses should be allowed in the refuges. In particular, some hunting organizations wanted recreational hunting to be an express purpose of the refuges, equal to wildlife protection. However, most environmental and sportsmen organizations insisted that wildlife protection be the Refuge System's primary mission, and that hunting be allowed only in specific refuges where it is judged to be compatible with wildlife protection. In 1997, key Members of Congress, the Department of the Interior, and a limited number of interest groups resolved these differences and agreed to legislative language.
H.R. 1420, sponsored by Resources Committee Chairman Don Young (R-AK), establishes for the first time that conservation of fish and wildlife is the basic mission for the nation's 509 wildlife refuges. If determined to be compatible with conservation and the purposes of a particular refuge, "wildlife-dependent" recreation, including "hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, or environmental education and interpretation" are recognized as priority uses of the refuges and are allowed. Other uses may be allowed if they are found to be compatible. The bill also requires conservation plans to be developed for each refuge, and requires the Secretary of the Interior to ensure that the biological integrity, diversity, and health of the system are protected.
The House passed H.R. 1420 on June 3, 1997, 407 - 1, and the Senate passed the bill on September 10, 1997, by unanimous consent (without a vote). The House agreed to the minor amendments made by the Senate on September 23, 1997, and passed H.R. 1420, 419 - 1. YES is the pro-environment vote. The President signed the bill into law on October 9, 1997.