Jun 17 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced that several North Carolina-specific provisions he requested have been secured in the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, a measure to fund federal land management agencies and environmental infrastructure accounts.

“I’m pleased that several of my commonsense measures to protect North Carolina communities and landowners were included in the Interior Appropriations Bill,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I’m also glad that it includes a provision supported by Senator Burr and me to help save North Carolina’s Corolla Wild Horses, at no cost to American taxpayers.”

Provisions supported by Senator Tillis in the FY2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill include:

Protecting North Carolina Landowners (Tillis)

Tillis’ provision recognizes the North Carolina Wildlife Commission’s request to end the Red Wolf Recovery Program because of the failure to reach population goals. The provision requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to coordinate with North Carolina Wildlife Commission on decisions related to the future of the program.

Since it was created several years ago, the Red Wolf Recovery Program has failed to meet population recovery goals for the red wolf and has negatively affected North Carolina landowners and the populations of several other native species. Earlier this month, Senator Tillis visited Aurora, North Carolina, to meet with key stakeholders who are harmed by the program. 

Preventing The Government From Revising Its Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests Management Plans (Tillis)

The Tillis provision clarifies that the Secretary of Agriculture is not required to revise the forest management plan for our national forests simply because 15 years have elapsed. The provision requires the secretary to act in good faith within funding available to revise plans for units of our national forest system if it does revise a forest management plan.

Previously, the USFS has been using this ability to treat lands as if they are wilderness and implement certain restrictions, essentially working around Congress’ prerogative to limit the designations of wilderness areas. Additionally, the USFS has not fully engaged state and local officials and the local community who oppose any proposals to designate additional land in and around the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests as wilderness or wilderness study areas.

Saving The Corolla Wild Horse Population (Burr/Tillis)

Senators Burr and Tillis secured a provision, which within 180 days of enactment, requires the State of North Carolina, Currituck County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Corolla Wild Horse Fund to develop a management plan to grow the horse population to a number no fewer than 110 and no greater than 130 horses by allowing for the introduction of related horses from a nearby herd. It clarifies that the Corolla Wild Horse fund pays all costs associated with managing the horses.

Protecting The Viewshed At Bald Head Island (Burr/Tillis)

Senators Burr and Tillis secured a provision prohibiting the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management from issuing wind leases offshore that would allow for wind turbines to be built or located less than 24 nautical miles from the North Carolina shoreline. A North Carolina State University study conducted in 2013 found that the presence of visible offshore wind turbine generators will cause a major reduction in vacationers willing to rent homes in coastal North Carolina. The study predicted a local reduction in tourism of 55 percent.