It would be tougher to start a new national wildlife refuge under legislation introduced in Congress last week. Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) introduced a measure that would require Congress to approve every new refuge.
Since the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act was enacted in 1966, the Fish & Wildlife Service has had the authority to set up refuges without specific legislation.
The National Wildlife Refuge Review Act (H.R. 638) would end that. The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, where Fleming chairs the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs.
Eleven representatives cosponsored the measure.
Read Fleming's justification for it at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?r113:1:./temp/~r113fJhLr3::.
Fleming introduced the bill two years ago. It didn't get out of subcommittee, though.
In introducing it again this year, Fleming explains that “during the past two years, it has become increasingly clear that the service is incapable of effectively managing what they already own. The Congress has a responsibility to curb their insatiable appetite for property acquisition. For far too long, this agency has placed too much emphasis on growing the refuge system rather than maintaining it.”