December 18, 2019
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee, praised the committee’s advancement of America’s Conservation Enhancement (ACE) Act, a bill Sen. Inhofe cosponsored, the nomination of Robert Feitel, to be Inspector General of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and 19 General Services Administration resolutions, one of which authorizes $144 million for needed modernizations to the Walter J. Holloway, Jr. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Oklahoma City.
“I am glad to see the resolution to fund needed modernizations to the Walter J. Holloway, Jr. U.S. Courthouse and Post Office in Oklahoma City,” Inhofe said. “The modernizations to the courthouse include needed updates to outdated mechanical, fire alarm, electrical, plumbing systems and other important upgrades to ensure the building can continue to serve the people of Oklahoma.”
S.3051, the ACE Act, is a comprehensive, bipartisan wildlife conservation bill. It protects wildlife and wildlife habitat and enhances recreational hunting and sportfishing, which are essential activities to ensure continued funding of wildlife conservation.
“I am proud to see the ACE Act advance through committee yesterday,” Inhofe said. “This bill includes a number of provisions I authored or cosponsored, including ensuring land-grant universities, like Oklahoma State University, have the same access to conservation resources as other entities, reauthorizing the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and establishing a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Task Force, as CWD is a threat to Oklahoma’s wildlife.”
- Authorizes land-grant institutions, like Oklahoma State University, to satisfy their Pittman-Robertson cost-sharing requirement with land previously purchased with federal funds. Inhofe previously introduced an amendment with the same priority.
- Establishes a Chronic Wasting Disease Task Force and authorizes a study by the National Academy of Sciences regarding pathways and mechanisms of transmission of CWD. Inhofe cosponsored the stand-alone version of this provision entitled S.382, Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act. CWD is a contagious, neurological disease impacting deer and other cervids. It has been found in free-ranging cervids in states surrounding Oklahoma and is a threat to Oklahoma’s wildlife.
- Sense of the Senate that conservation activities should be considered in making determinations under the Endangered Species Act. Inhofe has continually brought up the importance of this priority to Fish and Wildlife Service in calls, letters and meetings.
- Reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act at $60 million through FY25. Inhofe is a cosponsor S.261, the North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act, that reauthorizes NAWCA through FY24 at $60M. NAWCA is FWS’ voluntary, public-private partnership grant program for states to establish wetland habitat conservation projects. These grants go to conserving and restoring wetlands to increase and sustain water availability. In the 109th and 112th Congress, Inhofe introduced an extension of NAWCA.
- Makes permanent appropriations language that bans EPA from regulating sport fishing tackle under TSCA. Read more about Inhofe’s provision in the most recent appropriations package to block government regulation of fishing tackle under TSCA.
- Requires two GAO reports into amounts expended or disbursed by each federal department or agency as a result of any provision of the ESA over five consecutive fiscal years. Also requires two GAO reports describing conservation activities by each federal department or agency as a direct result of the ESA over five fiscal years. Little is known about how much money is used to enforce the ESA and it is a priority of Inhofe’s to know the amount of potential waste.
- Amends Pittman Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to permit the providing of financial and technical assistance to the states for the promotion of hunting and recreational shooting.
- Authorizes the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to issue depredation permits to livestock producers, thereby allowing takings of black vultures or common ravens by livestock producers under specified circumstances during calving or lambing season. Inhofe joined Sen. Boozman in writing a letter in November 2019 alerting FWS to the concern avian predators, including black vultures and ravens, have on animal agriculture and producers. Read more here.
Background on Robert Feitel, nominee for Inspector General of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
President Trump nominated Robert Feitel to serve as Inspector General (IG) of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on October 30, 2019. Since 2014, Mr. Feitel has served as a trial attorney for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.