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House committee OKs hike in federal Duck Stamp price

WASHINGTON — A House committee on Wednesday passed a measure to raise the price of the federal Duck Stamp.

The House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee by voice vote passed the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014. The measure now heads to the House floor for consideration.

Introduced in both the House and Senate, the measure would raise the price of the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp — more commonly known as the Duck Stamp — from its current price of $15 to $25.

The increase would be dedicated to conservation easements with private landowners.

Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited, praised the House action, saying the price of the duck stamp last was raised 23 years ago.

“Since then, the price of land has tripled and conservation buying power has diminished greatly,” Hall said. “Once again, sportsmen and women are willing to lead in funding conservation that benefits all of our citizens.”

Sponsored by Rep. John Fleming, R-La., HR 5069 is co-sponsored in the House by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis.; Jason Smith, R-Mo.; and Rob Wittman, R-Va.

Since its enactment in 1934, the federal Duck Stamp program has protected nearly 6 million acres of habitat through expenditures of more than $900 million. The price of the duck stamp has been raised only seven times. The last price increase raised the price of the stamp to $15 — the single longest period without a price increase in the program’s history.

The Congressional Budget Office found that because the federal duck stamp is a user fee, such a price increase would have no net impact on federal spending.