I HAVE signed H.R. 480, a bill extending for 8 years authority to appropriate up to $105 million for the acquisition of land for migratory waterfowl refuges.
In 1961, Congress recognized that the accelerated acquisition of wetlands is essential, if this country is to preserve the natural environment that waterfowl and other birds must have for survival.
With the $46 million actually appropriated since 1961, less than half of the 2.5 million acres of the wetlands originally estimated as being acquirable have been purchased or leased. This bill gives the migratory bird conservation fund additional time for obtaining the remaining $59 million of authorized appropriations.
Revenues from the sale of "duck stamps" will continue to help pay for land acquisitions as they occur. Eventually, "duck stamp" revenues will reimburse the Treasury for the appropriations that are again authorized by this bill.
The acquisition of migratory waterfowl refuges is of particular interest and benefit to hunters, and the Secretary of the Interior has recommended to Congress that the "duck stamp" fee be increased from $3 to $5 to help meet the cost of the accelerated program. The House has already passed a bill for this purpose. I urge the Senate to complete action on the measure early in the next session of Congress.