Kaine Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act

http://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-co-sponsors-bipartisan-sportsmens-act

Monday, June 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senators Kay Hagan and Lisa Murkowski in supporting the Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, bipartisan legislation that contains 12 bills to ensure sportsmen’s traditions are protected, provide sportsmen more access to federal lands, and support conservation efforts.

“The bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act conserves public land while promoting outdoor recreation activities that support jobs across the Commonwealth,” Kaine said. “By increasing opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing, and shooting, this bill will allow sportsmen to enjoy public lands and contribute to local economies in Virginia and across the nation. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to pass this legislation.”

The Sportsmen’s Act will enact a variety of measures to facilitate the use of and access to federal public lands and waters for hunting, fishing, and shooting. Provisions in the bill will also help increase revenue for wildlife conservation, hunter education and shooting programs.

A full list of provisions included in the bill is available HERE.

In Virginia, access to lands and water for hunting and fishing has a significant impact on the local economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $13.6 billion annually in consumer spending in Virginia, supports 138,000 jobs across the state, which generate $3.9 billion in wages and salaries, and produces $923 million annually in state and local tax revenue. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, each year 3.3 million people participate in hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching in Virginia, contributing $2.4 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy.

As Governor, Kaine helped preserve more than 400,000 acres of open space for recreation and conservation in Virginia during his four-year term.

WE MUST STOP H.R. 2406!!!

http://www.bvconservation.org/h.r.-2406.html#top

The Most Destructive Federal Legislation

in the Past Century for Wildlife and Nature Lovers!

READ FULL TEXT OF H.R. 2406 HERE

One of the worst Bills in the past century for people and wildlife!

CLICK TO SIGN OUR PETITION!

HEY SENATOR MURKOWSKI!

Please sign the petition and write your Senators and Senator Lisa Murkowski and tell them: Federal Public Lands are for everyone, not just hunters! Tell them the quiet sounds of nature are a very important part of your outdoor experience! Tell them you want their NO vote on H.R. 2406!

Click here to Contact Your

Congressional Delegation Today!

STOP KILLING WOLVES!

Watch our new video about  Shooting Ranges on Public Lands! -> -> ->

Nearly every state suffers from

the same, non-scientific wildlife mismanagement issues from their

State Game Commissions as the shenanigans seen in H.R. 2406!

See Game Commission Reform

H.R. 2406 BLOG: CHECK BACK HERE FOR UPDATES, INFORMATION AND ACTION ITEMS!

Feel free to add any information  comments or updates you have on this Draconian Bill below!

Why Sportsmen Must Be Stopped

 WATCH OUR VIDEO ABOUT SHOOTING RANGES ON PUBLIC LAND 

by Stephen Capra   Since our country’s inception, we have waged a war on wildlife. From the blood-soaked Great Plains that laid waste to bison and passenger pigeons, to the slaughter of bears, wolves, prairie dogs and coyotes. Killing it seems, is part of America’s DNA.   Despite stories of conservation and heritage, much of the bloodletting and ignorance in our nation related to wildlife has been at the hands of these groups and industries: hunters, the livestock industry, State Game and Fish Departments, with the solid support of groups that incessantly lobby Congress; the Safari Club, Wildlife Federation, (a long list of sportsmen’s groups), the livestock industry, outfitters and most importantly the NRA. Some simply want to hunt; others are dedicated to undermining federal control of public lands.   Despite all we have learned about wildlife and their value to a healthy, sustainable environment and that fact that they can feel pain, suffer loss, and have an emotional connection to their young, we continue to allow common sense protection and wildlife measures to be tossed aside by bullying tactics and mindless political giveaways. Ones that ignore how pressing conservation of our natural resources are today. By legislators, many of whom still deny climate change and have strong negative feelings towards true conservation.   Understanding that, Congress has just passed perhaps the most destructive wildlife legislation in generations and the losers are the very wildlife that we are morally entrusted with protecting.   The so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 passed the House last week and is poised to move to the Senate. This bill in its current form resembles legislation that many would have thought logical in the 1850’s, but is completely out of step with modern conservation.   The bill includes provisions to delist protections for wolves in the Great lakes region and Wyoming. It allows, despite recent international outcries, blockage to US Fish and Wildlife’s ability to crack down on the illegal ivory trade which has had devastating impacts on African Elephants. Further, once passed in the Senate, it will allow more ivory smuggling into the US. It condones the shooting of grizzly bears and wolves from airplanes, and the hunting of bears, cubs, wolves and coyotes while they are denning. It supports known poacher practices like baiting. The question remains: why?   As though this is not enough, it will open more public lands to trapping, decimate management of our National Wildlife Refuge System, and blocks federal agencies like the EPA from regulating toxic lead from ammunition and fishing tackle. The bill threatens the sanctity of the Wilderness Act by making hunting, fishing and recreational shooting the primary management mandate on public lands and replaces the Act’s main provision that lands be managed “for wilderness character.” It undermines the Marine Mammal Act and the Endangered Species Act by allowing the imports of Polar bears shot in Canada, so hunters will have access to their trophies. It sets up the creation of an array of gun ranges on our public lands and in all National Monuments across the West, to destroy the safety and solitude that so many seek when hiking or camping.   Perhaps more disturbing are the creation of special councils that speak directly to the Secretary of Interior and Agriculture, all to promote more hunting, trapping and access to guns and shooting…to kill more wildlife. They are to be comprised of Big Game hunting organizations, hunting and shooting manufacturers groups, firearms and ammunition manufacturers, agriculture, ranching, outfitter and guide industries, with a nod to minority sportsman, woman and wildlife conservation groups. This is nothing more an insider lobbying committee that taxpayers will be on the hook for.   Sportsmen’s groups from across the country are demanding passage of this arcane and dangerous legislation which will in time kill more wildlife and sadly people. It’s worth remembering that as a nation, the numbers of people who choose to go hunting are tiny and diminishing, despite massive investments in television and lobbying zeal.   Sportsmen represent a tiny fraction of Public Land users. This legislative push is designed to give just 6% of our people control of all of America’s outdoors and the chance to kill even more. Sportsmen, as it has been pointed out by recent studies, contribute far less to conservation than do environmental groups or that all Americans contribute through their taxes; this very small special interest group, that defies the desires of the vast majority of Americans, who prefer to hike, camp, go birding, take pictures…but not kill. We go there for the beauty and magic that wildlife that public lands represent.   The bill now heads to the Senate, where sponsors Lisa Murkowski (R) of Alaska and Martin Heinrich (D) of New Mexico will push for its passage.   In 2016, we should be doing all we can to respect, not kill, predator species. We should be looking for methods to strengthen the Wilderness Act, not gut it. Our federal agencies need to be doing all they can to stop ivory imports and preventing toxic lead in our waterways. Polar bears are in real trouble, but we just made senseless killing more likely.   This bill is not about wildlife or protection of our lands, it is about perpetuating ignorance, suffering and granting select power over our federal lands.   Legislation created for wildlife, water or lands should reflect our new realities: climate change, habitat loss and endangered species. Our policies, now more than ever, should be based on modern science, decreeing more protection not less, while working toward the goal of true biodiversity. This legislation is designed to keep hunters in charge of wildlife, which alone is reason enough to block it.   Aldo Leopold could well have spoken about this legislation when he saidA thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Bill Slashing Wildlife Protections

copyrighted wolf in water

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2016/sportsmens-act-02-26-2016.html

 ‘Sportsmen’s Heritage Act’ Threatens Wolves, Elephants, Polar Bears, Birds, People

WASHINGTON— In a partisan vote, the U.S. House of Representatives today passed the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” that would end federal protection for gray wolves in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. The bill includes a grab bag of additional special-interest provisions that primarily benefit the livestock industry, National Rifle Association and those who peddle elephant ivory. More than 60 conservation organizations signed an open letter opposing the Sportsmen’s Act.

“There’s nothing sporting about wolf slaughter, elephant poaching or lead poisoning,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “In the Sportsmen’s Bill, House Republicans have once again ignored science and protected special interests instead of wildlife.”

One of the many bad provisions of the bill not only strips protection from wolves but forbids court challenges. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally stripped federal protections from gray wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2011 and in Wyoming in 2012. Federal judges overturned both decisions for failing to follow the requirements of the Endangered Species Act, failing to follow the best available science and for prematurely turning management over to state fish and game agencies that are openly hostile to wolves. A provision in today’s bill would preempt those court decisions, stop the current appeal process, and permanently end federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes.

A separate provision of the Sportsmen’s Act would stop a proposed regulation from the Fish and Wildlife Service designed to curtail the ivory trade inside the United States, which is the second-largest market in the world for ivory, after China. Elephant populations across Africa have plummeted due to the ongoing poaching epidemic, with forest elephants declining by 60 percent over the last decade. The illegal trade in elephant ivory funnels millions of dollars to the black market, fueling corruption and funding conflict in African nations.

“If this misguided legislation is enacted into law, elephants are likely to go extinct in our lifetime,” said Hartl. “Republicans are sacrificing one of the most magnificent animals ever to walk the Earth to protect the ability of a few rich collectors to keep their ivory trinkets.”

Similarly, the bill creates a dangerous loophole that allows trophy-hunted polar bears to be imported. Two-thirds of polar bears are expected to be wiped out by 2050 due to climate change, and the species is predicted to near extinction by the end of the century.

Another provision of the Sportsmen’s Bill would permanently exempt lead fishing tackle from any regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act. Lead is an extremely toxic substance that is dangerous to people and wildlife at almost all levels. Animals are poisoned when they eat lost fishing weights, mistaking them for food or grit; some die a painful, rapid death from lead poisoning, while others suffer for years from its slowly debilitating effects.

“There is no safe level of lead in the environment. This provision will result in more poisoned wildlife — hardly what any real sportsmen would want,” said Hartl. “We phased lead out of waterfowl ammunition, paint, gasoline and toys. It’s time for Congress to stop catering to industry and start looking out for the health of the American people and our wildlife.”

Since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011 there have been hundreds of legislative attacks on the environment, including more than 177 on endangered species and the Endangered Species Act. In 2015 more than 70 bills targeted endangered species. Republicans also introduced legislation designed to limit the ability of citizens to go to court in defense of species. Earlier this year the Center released a report documenting a 600 percent increase in these legislative attacks since the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United ruling allowing special interests to make virtually unlimited campaign contributions.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Take Action to Protect Our Nation’s Wildlife

alt text

HUMANE ALERT
main-feature
Take Action to Protect Our Nation’s Wildlife
Dear Jim,

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is still collecting public comments on a proposed rule to limit predator control activities on Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges. At stake is an opportunity to stop:

• brown and black bear trapping
• brown bear baiting
• the killing of black bears, wolves and coyotes in their dens
• the aerial gunning of bears

Please send a message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of the proposal.

Sportsmen’s Act, or Poachers’ Act?

Sportsmen’s Act, or Poachers’ Act?

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By on May 20, 2015 with 33 Comments

If you thought the Senate version of the Sportsmen’s Act – which was the subject of a recent hearing – was awful, the House version that was examined in committee today is even worse.

The House version is called the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” (SHARE Act), H.R. 2406. Yet it includes language to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from adopting a rule to restrict the illegal ivory trade in the United States. What does that have to do with sportsmen who hunt deer, ducks, and other traditional prey? The answer: it has zero to do with sportsmen, and everything to do with AK-47-wielding poachers slaughtering elephants and sawing off their faces, destroying the economies of Africa in the process, and financing terrorists who are a threat to African and western nations.

That’s a good starting point for a bill that’s careened off course and has almost nothing to do with its title.  H.R. 2406 helps no rank-and-file hunters. It’s a grab bag of items largely unrelated to, and disconnected from, hunting.

In addition to the elephant poaching provision, the bill provides an opportunity for a handful of ultra-wealthy trophy hunters to import sport-hunted polar bears killed in northern Canada. This is a special-interest provision, which carves out an exemption in the Marine Mammal Protection Act, that has no bearing on regular hunters who fill their freezers with venison. None of these millionaire trophy hunters, who paid as much as $50,000 to shoot a polar bear, ate the meat. They just went on a head-hunting exercise, and paid a fortune to do so.

The bill is also a boon to the small fraction of the U.S. population that engages in trapping live animals. The SHARE Act adds “trapping” to the definition of hunting. This provision would open up millions of acres of land to trapping: an inherently cruel and inhumane means of ensnaring animals like beavers, bobcats, and foxes. Each year, millions of animals, including pets, are killed in painful traps, and they try desperately to free themselves for hours or days before they succumb to dehydration, predators, or the trapper’s bludgeon. Recreational trapping with the worst body-gripping traps is banned or severely restricted in nine U.S. states and over 80 countries, and Congress should be working to end this cruel practice, rather than expanding it.

The House bill also goes a step further than its Senate companion bill on the issue of toxic lead ammunition. It takes away the regulatory authority of the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to protect wildlife – and the public – from toxic lead ammunition. These agencies have already taken positive steps in requiring the use of non-lead alternatives for hunting certain species. In 1991, they put in place a nationwide measure requiring non-toxic shot for migratory waterfowl, after biologists estimated that millions of ducks were dying from lead poisoning. That federal rule has saved millions of birds annually from death by exposure to toxic lead, and it’s not put a dent in duck hunting. Now members of Congress want to take away the opportunity to build on this success  – handcuffing federal agencies that have a duty to address ammunition that poisons millions of wild animals.

The SHARE Act, just like its Senate companion , will not benefit rank-and-file hunters, and will destroy years of work done by animal protection advocates, environmentalists, and conservationists to protect endangered species and other wildlife. It is a special interest bill masquerading as a measure for sportsmen. Rank-and-file sportsmen, and the lawmakers who care about them, should not be deceived. Please call your members of Congress to ask them not to support these cruel bills.

ALERT: Stop the Senate sneak attack on wolves‏

from Defenders.org:

Anti-wildlife senators in Washington, D.C. have introduced a series of amendments to the Energy Bill that would cripple wolf conservation and set wildlife protection back by decades.

Urgent – Tell your senators to oppose anti-wildlife amendments to the Energy Bill when it comes up for a vote.

These amendments would undermine protections for individual species like wolves and tear away at the very fabric of the law by limiting citizens’ ability to enforce essential protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in court.

There are three amendments in particular that must be defeated:

The “let’s throw wolves under the bus” amendment – would delist wolves in Wyoming and the Western Great Lakes. We’ve seen what delisting looks like in Wyoming, where it was open season on wolves every day of the year in 80% of the state before the courts put a stop to it;

The “leave bats in the dust” amendment – would prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting the highly imperiled northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act; and

The “forget your day in court” amendment – tries to block citizens from going to court to hold the government accountable when it does not properly enforce the ESA. This amendment would bar recovery of legal fees otherwise available under the law and allow local governments to veto a federal court’s decision to enforce the law with regard to certain species.

In the past year alone, anti-wildlife forces have introduced over 90 legislative measures aimed at crippling America’s commitment to restoring and protecting imperiled wildlife.

Tell your senator to oppose these lethal amendments!

Thank you for all you do.

Black female wolf 831f Yellowstone National Park_2012 NPS

‘”Sportsman’s” Act’: You Shall Not Pass

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/ar-sportsmans-act.html
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Franziska, Northwest Animal Rights Group (NARN)
February 2015

Take more action here: Oppose Trophy Hunter Supported Sportsmen’s Act

Once again, a small faction of wealthy trophy hunters is pressuring your elected officials to allow the importation of — are you SERIOUS? — threatened polar bear trophies from Canada. They also want to open millions of acres of public lands to “sport” hunting and commercial trapping. And they want to do it without evaluating possible implications for animals, habitat and the opinions of Americans.

One definition of the word “sport” is as follows:

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

I will let you contemplate such things as baiting, blinds, beer, hunting accidents, night scopes, decoys, lures, hounds, high-powered rifles, crossbows, camouflage AND MANY MORE as you mentally list the reasons hunting and trapping ARE NOT SPORTS.

In view of that…let’s shoot down the mis-named “Sportsman’s Act”.

Once again, a small faction of wealthy trophy hunters is pressuring your elected officials to allow the importation of — are you SERIOUS? — threatened polar bear trophies from Canada.

  • They also want to open millions of acres of public lands to “sport” hunting and commercial trapping.
  • And they want to do it without evaluating possible implications for animals, habitat and the opinions of Americans who enjoy our nation’s wild spaces without having to kill the inhabitants.
  • This bill would also permanently strip the Environmental Protection Agency of the authority to regulate lead shot and other ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act, and would add lead sinkers and other fishing gear to the existing exemptions.
  • To add insult to injury, the bill would direct up to $10 million annually toward improving access to landlocked public lands, allocate a larger proportion of existing federal funding to building and maintaining shooting ranges on federal and non-federal lands, and require federal land managers to consider how their plans may impact hunting, fishing and recreational shooting.

Do I need to remind you of the suffering involved for animals left to die slowly of bad shots, for their families and children, for animals trapped for days in agony, whose only release is (maybe) the trapper and his dogs? Hunting and trapping are NOT sports. They are HORRORS.

Please, if you don’t already know who they are and how to get in touch with them, find your federal legislators here [U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative]. Make a brief, polite phone call today to urge them to OPPOSE S. 405, the Sportsmen’s Act, and protect our wildlife and wildlands. (I know you don’t FEEL polite. I don’t either. But let’s pull ourselves together.) Follow up with an email (links at the same site above).

Stop the “Sportsmen’s Act”

From HSUS.org

The dreaded so-called “Sportsmen’s Act” is back.

Yet again, a small faction of wealthy trophy hunters is pressuring your elected officials to allow the importation of threatened polar bear trophies from Canada. They also want to open millions of acres of public lands to10368479_10152532154104586_2706872192299860162_n sport hunting and commercial trapping, without evaluating possible implications on animals, habitat and Americans who enjoy our nation’s wild spaces. They are also fighting to keep pumping tons of toxic lead ammunition into the environment, poisoning the land and wildlife, even when non-lead ammo is readily available.

Please make a brief, polite phone call today to your Senators and urge them to OPPOSE S. 405, the Sportsmen’s Act, and protect our wildlife and wildlands.

Wildlife needs strong voices like yours to stand up for them. After you call, don’t forget to send a follow-up message»

Good News: Unsporting Bill Shot Down

Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics

 

The Senate today shot down a motion to move forward on S. 2363, the dangerous if innocuous sounding “Sportsmen’s Act,” which has been portrayed as feel-good legislation but could have serious and far-reaching consequences for wildlife, public spaces, and human health and safety. The bill needed 60 votes to advance, but only received 41 in favor, and 56 opposed—a result of some Democrats opposing the bill because of its extreme provisions and Republicans uniting in opposition because they could not offer amendments on gun rights and other topics.

BALDEAGLEMYSTICLAKES

A bald eagle at Mystic Lake in Massachusetts. Photo by John Harrison
Sportsmen, of course, are already allowed to pursue their activities on the vast majority of federal public lands, including national forests, BLM lands, and most national wildlife refuges, with only national parks and some national monuments generally closed to hunting. That’s not to mention the millions of acres of state and private lands also available. But as things now stand, resource managers have the flexibility to look at the big picture and determine when it makes sense to allow hunting and fur trapping—and when it doesn’t. They consider local concerns such as whether endangered or threatened species are present, and balance the interests of hunters and trappers with other public land users and recreationalists.
S. 2363 would flip the burden and turn the current process on its head. Public lands would be “open unless closed” to hunting and fur trapping, regardless of whether they’re compatible with other land uses or threatened or endangered species, and closing lands would require a burdensome bureaucratic process. On top of that, the bill would force land managers to prioritize hunting and trapping above other outdoor activities, effectively excluding a large proportion of the American public from enjoying our national spaces, including in designated “wilderness areas.” Rather than local control, it would be a federal fiat from Washington that the default is to allow sport hunting and the use of painful and indiscriminate steel-jawed leghold traps.
The harmful legislation would also stop scientists at the EPA from restricting the use of lead ammunition, which is a known toxin that kills millions of wild animals from more than 130 species each year, including bald eagles, California condors, and other threatened and endangered species. These bullets keep on killing long after they’ve left the chamber, with animals poisoned by eating the lead fragments directly, preying on contaminated animals, or feeding on gut piles left behind by hunters.
President George H.W. Bush’s administration banned the use of lead for all waterfowl hunting in 1991, and non-lead ammunition such as copper, steel, and bismuth are readily available and affordable. That sensible policy has prevented the poisoning deaths of millions of birds, and it’s been part of the march of progress toward getting toxic lead out of the environment. There’s no compelling reason for Congress to thumb its nose at science and innovation, and forbid EPA or any other responsible agency, with appropriate authority and expertise, from even examining this issue.
POLAR_BEAR

a polar bear in the wild
Finally, this bill is a sweetheart deal for millionaire big-game hunters. Far from benefiting our nation’s rank-and-file sportsmen, this is a special order delivery for only 41 wealthy big game hunters who dropped up to $50,000 each for guided polar bear hunts in the Arctic. These trophy hunters, who compete to see their names in the Safari Club record books for killing the rarest species around the world, have been lobbying Congress to allow them to bring the heads and hides of threatened polar bears into this country from Canada in defiance of current law.
This would be the latest in a series of import allowances that Congress has approved—each time making the argument that it’s only a few animals and the polar bears are already dead and have no conservation value—but the cumulative impacts of these waivers time and time again lead to more reckless trophy killing. Do we want Congress to set this kind of precedent, encouraging trophy hunters to kill rare animals as they are about to be listed as endangered or threatened species and then to get relief from Congress to make a special dispensation for them?
Thank you to all the animal advocates who contacted your Senators and asked them to oppose this extreme and reckless “Sportsmen’s Act.” Those calls made a difference—a game-changing difference for millions of animals. Wild animals and the environment have dodged a bullet now that this terrible package of anti-conservation policies has stalled in the Senate.