FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2001
State fish and wildlife agencies will share in $293 million in excise taxes paid by America's hunters, target shooters, boaters, and anglers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Jamie Rappaport Clark announced today. The agencies will use the money for wildlife conservation through land acquisition, habitat improvement, research, education, and other programs. The funds will also help pay for hunting education programs and wildlife-related recreation projects.
The funds are distributed through preliminary apportionments under two Federal Aid programs administered by the Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The $293 million is provided to states based on receipts for the first 9 months of sales in Fiscal Year 2000, which ended June 30. Additional funds will become available after receipts for the July-to-September 2000 quarter are calculated.
"Hunters and anglers continue to be a cornerstone to conservation in America," Director Clark said. "Their financial contributions through excise taxes paid under the Federal Aid program are vital to maintaining and restoring our nation's fish and wildlife resources."
The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act), signed in 1937, and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson Act), signed in 1950, collectively have raised more than $5.2 billion.
The money is distributed to the states for projects proposed by the states and approved by the Service. Federal Aid funds pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of each project while the states contribute at least 25 percent of the cost.
The preliminary apportionment for wildlife restoration and hunter education programs for fiscal year 2001 totals $147 million. The money is derived from an 11- percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition, a 10-percent tax on pistols and revolvers, and an 11-percent tax on certain archery equipment. One-half of the tax on handguns and archery equipment is made available for state hunter education and safety programs.
The preliminary apportionment for sport fish restoration for FY 2001 totals $146 million. The funding results from a 10-percent excise tax on fishing equipment and a 3-percent tax on electric trolling motors and sonar fish finders. The Wallop-Breaux legislation of 1984 increased the tax base for sport fish restoration to include a portion of the Federal fuels tax and import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats.
Distribution of sport fish restoration funds to the states is based on the land and water area and the number of fishing license holders in each state. Wildlife restoration funds are made available based on land area and the number of hunting license holders in each state. Distribution of hunter education funds is based on the relative population of each state.
The attached tables show the allocation of the preliminary pportionment for fiscal year 2001. Final apportionments will be announced later this year.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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