by Erin C. Healy - Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The day before U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Acting Secretary David Bernhardt appeared for his confirmation hearing, he signed Secretarial Order No. 3374, officially implementing the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management and Recreation Act within the DOI. The department is touting the many benefits of the new legislation for all citizens, but as NRA-ILA Director of Conservation, Wildlife and Natural Resources Susan Recce reported on this website, with a few exceptions, there is much in the bill that hunter-conservationists can celebrate as well.
The order, in accordance with the deadlines specified by the Dingell Act, sets up a task force and timeframes for moving forward on actionable steps within each DOI office or bureau. It outlines instructions for establishing plans, tracking progress and complying with budgetary guidelines through the next few years.
The DOI under former Secretary Ryan Zinke was already advancing many of the concepts passed in the Act, and Bernhardt continues to support those measures. For instance, he recently released funds for numerous projects that involve cooperation between federal, state and private land-holders to better wildlife migration routes and grazing ranges of Western big-game species.
Order No. 3374 sets up the inter-departmental infrastructure to carry out the goals of the Act. The ones of particular interest to hunters include:
President Donald J. Trump has tapped Bernhardt to fully take on the secretary’s role. The National Rifle Association fully backs his choice. As mentioned, Bernhardt underwent his Senate confirmation hearing on March 28, so a vote is expected on his nomination later this week.
About the Author: Erin C. Healy is the associate editor of the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum. She edited a lifestyle magazine on Cape Cod for 14 years and provided marketing services for her local guntry club prior to joining BLADE magazine and serving in the U.S. Army. She's an NRA Life Member, a National Wild Turkey Federation member and sends her Jack Russell Terriers to ground as often as possible.
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