Boating industry priorities included in House spending packages

Ahead of the August recess, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a “minibus”—a legislative package that contains multiple appropriations bills—which includes the vast majority of the recreational boating industry’s funding priorities. In total, NMMA secured $850 million for conservation initiatives and infrastructure programs.

The spending package includes funding for the Department of Commerce, the Department of Interior, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The bills in the package also support important programs that benefit Great Lakes and Everglades restoration, marine sanctuaries, and outdoor recreation.

Earlier this year, NMMA outlined its recommendations for industry priorities to include in this package. Overall, 12 of our 13 recommendations were ultimately included in the final package (summaries of the specific provisions are detailed below).

NMMA appreciates the House’s hard work to approve these critical funding measures. The Senate still must develop and pass its spending bills for fiscal year 2021. NMMA will continue to monitor progress as it unfolds on Capitol Hill and advocate for the industry’s priorities with lawmakers and key staff. For more information, please contact NMMA director of federal government relations, Clay Crabtree at ccrabtree@nmma.org.

Department of Commerce

  • The bill would provide $1.5 million for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which would continue the Department’s analysis highlighting the impact that outdoor recreation has on the U.S. economy.
  • The bill also provides $64 million for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, including $6 million for NOAA’s efforts to improve and enhance recreational anglers’ and boaters’ experiences in National Marine Sanctuaries.
  • NMMA secured a provision that would direct the Department of Commerce to carry out a study of the effects of climate change on the recreational boating economy and produce recommendations to address vulnerabilities.

Department of Interior

  • The bill provides $335 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative—which is a critical program that works to protect and restore the Great Lakes through the prevention of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and harmful algal blooms, and through habitat restoration.
  • The bill also provides $41 million for efforts to help prevent the spread of Asian carp and other AIS.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

  • The bill provides robust funding for many of the U.S. Army Corps’ projects that are critically important to recreational boaters, such as $250 million for Everglades restoration; $38 million for navigation maintenance; $55 million for inland waterway modernization; and $65 million for projects at small or subsistence harbors.
  • The bill also recognizes the growth of the outdoor recreation industry and directs the USACE to account for recreation-based benefits and costs when considering a project. Additionally, the bill instructs the USACE to create a Recreation Task Force to develop a plan to maintain and enhance public recreational opportunities at USACE projects. 

Content extracted from https://boatingindustry.com/news/2020/08/04/boating-industry-priorities-included-in-house-spending-packages/