WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) filed an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill that would drive U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) to drop its proposed restrictions on recreational boating at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona.
Currently, a portion of federal taxes that boaters pay on fuel is deposited into the federal Highway Trust Fund. A portion of those funds is later allocated to the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund to be used by agencies including USFWS. The senators’ amendment would prevent USFWS from collecting this tax revenue unless the agency lifts its proposed boating restrictions at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. USFWS currently receives about $6 million from taxes on boat sales, fuel, and fishing equipment from Arizona alone.
“USFWS’s proposal to restrict recreational boating near Lake Havasu could devastate small businesses throughout the region that depend on the millions of people who visit every year to enjoy boating, water skiing, and other activities on the lake,” said Sen. McCain. “We believe that USFWS should not be permitted to use boaters’ tax dollars to unduly restrict access to one of the most popular boating locations in Arizona. The USFWS should rethink its proposal and listen to the concerns raised by the citizens of Mohave County whose lives and livelihoods depend on outdoor recreation.”