“The Shit Has Hit the Fan” in the form of HR2406

by Stephen Capra

For more than thirty years, I have worked in Conservation. In fights as ranging as efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to our more recent battles to create two new National Monuments in New Mexico, sportsmen were on the front lines in defense of wilderness and wildlife. So what has happened and why are they now so determined to pass legislation that will kill so much wildlife and wilderness?

The answer is not entirely clear, but there seems to be some ominous clues: it began with the brutal years of the Bush Presidency, a time when conservation legislation was automatically dead on arrival. It was a time when pressure to drill in wild places was heavy in the air, and common sense was a memory. During this difficult time, Foundations that supported conservation decided that Sportsmen were the key to protection and the money flowed to their organizations. The results produced during this time were small; Bush was not much of a hunter, and their voice did little to protect wild places, but they garnered respect and lots of media attention.

The result has been that funding to sportsmen has continued, at the expense of many small conservation-focused organizations. At the same time, the NRA has mushroomed into a super-power in Washington, using the second amendment to threaten and cajole elected officials into permitting weapons in grocery stores and churches.

Shortly after his election to congress, then-congressman Martin Heinrich set about to solve a problem that bothered him and other hunters, locked gates on roads that led to wilderness and other public lands; thus began the road to what we now know as SB-2406.

So how did opening gates for sportsmen lead to a bill so destructive? The answer has a lot to do with Washington, and even more about the zealous nature of sportsmen and their desire to rule our public lands.

Since the passage of the Pittman-Robertson Act, (legislation that taxed the sales of guns and ammo and earmarked its revenue for state’s wildlife management programs,) sportsmen have found ways to use their power to influence policy. During the sixties, the rise of environmental awareness pushed sportsmen out of the mainstream, allowing the growth of mainstream conservation groups that focused on wildlife- without killing, which supported wilderness, clean air and water. Sportsmen were relegated more to state issues and maintained complete control over Game and Fish Departments. The NRA at this point was not on the radar.

With the Reagan and Bush years the NRA was allowed in the front door and became an important component of the Republican Party as they began a strategy of reclaiming the South and the West. The second amendment was the bullet they used to counter common sense.

With more concern about wildlife and Endangered Species programs becoming effective, Republicans and some rural blue dog Democrats began complaining about restrictions on private property. In many tight races in the West and with the rise of the Sage Brush Rebellion, such programs became a target for those who wanted access to kill all wildlife and hated government intervention.

With the election of our first African-American President, all of this came to maturation. By now sportsmen had regained momentum; the NRA would find their zenith of power attacking the President and those rural counties in the south and west, would be the soldiers of a new sagebrush blow-back. The President for his part seemed to use wildlife as a currency that he would yield on for critical votes, or reelection support for failing blue dogs and the US Fish and Wildlife Service of his administration has made clear that their efforts have been focused on removing species from endangered status.

This brings us to today. Legislation designed to open a few remote roads for access, has evolved into a plan that will permit aerial killing of bears, wolves and coyotes. The import of ivory is now acceptable, despite worldwide efforts to stop the killing of elephants; the National Wildlife Refuge System would now be redesigned to make killing of species, not protection, a priority. Gun ranges will become the mandate of National Forests and Monuments and all public land, with funds that should go to wildlife management reallocated to build them. The Wilderness Act would be undermined to allow construction of building, roads, and access by ATV’s. Bears their cubs and wolves could be killed in their dens and polar bears killed in Canada could be brought into America for the trophy-needy slobs that killed them.

This is not legislation; it’s madness.

It reflects the manner in which common sense and sound science are being destroyed in a power grab by sportsmen who frankly should be ashamed of supporting legislation that reflects not sportsmanship, but 19th century ignorance. The NRA wants to take complete control of our public lands as they have our places of worship, bars, schools and grocery stores. They want our world to be fear based and now the place we go to for solace and to restore our spirit, could become a place filled with the sounds of guns.

This legislation changed the day Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski became a co-sponsor of SB-405 the original bill, of H.R. 2406’s latest House derivative. Her record on the environment is a disgrace, her motives are to kill, conquer and destroy all that is wild.

If passed, this legislation will also set up a “Sportsman’s Committee,” which will directly advise the Interior Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture, who manages our National Forests. They will be there representing the NRA, Gun manufacturer’s, outfitters and ammo dealers, ranchers and the usual groups designed to undermine our public land, with power to dictate policy and kill precious species, such as wolves and grizzly bears.

Sportsmen are feeling their power and showing no restraint: From the slaughter that is occurring with bison in Yellowstone, to plans to start killing grizzlies around the borders of the park, to now this legislation, common sense is not being reflected in their push for power.

This legislation has been a generation or more in the making; it started with a simply concept that has exploded into a very dangerous piece of legislation that we cannot allow to pass.

Sportsmen must also begin to question their motivations? When you blur the lines between sport and destroying a sacred trust, you lose your credibility. Sportsmen should ask for this legislation to be tabled. They should join the fight to defeat legislation that went from simple access, to transforming our most sacred trust.

Bold Visions Conservation stands with wildlife, against turning our wildlands into gun ranges, and we’ll fight every day until this legislation is killed. We understand how it happened; if this legislation does not die, and then it will be the weapon that destroys the animals and lands we all so dearly love. Such bloodletting has no place in modern America.

Such deception should not be tolerated.

Visit our new page dedicated to defeating H.R. 2406, the most dangerous anti-nature, anti-wildlife, anti-people legislation in modern history!

On this page you can read H.R.2406 and Sign a Petition to Fight H.R.2406, Watch videos on the implications of H.R. 2406 and Read and/or Contribute to our informational Blog.

New Bill Promoting Public Lands Access for Hunting Draws Praise Protest, Puke

New Bill Promoting Public Lands Access for Hunting Draws Praise from Outdoors Community
Published on Saturday, October 26, 2013

WASHINGTON –-(Ammoland.com)-Senate legislation introduced today that would  increase hunting and angling access on public lands and bolster the nation’s  outdoor recreation economy was welcomed by a broad coalition of influential  sportsmen’s groups and outdoor interests.

The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act, or  “HUNT Act,” introduced this afternoon by Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico,  directs federal agencies to inventory all public lands greater than 640 acres  where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible with the goal of expanding  access for members of the public. The legislation finances land acquisitions  from willing sellers through a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation  Fund monies. Heinrich introduced similar legislation in 2012, when he was a  member of the House of Representatives.

Sportsmen and others hailed the measure as a way of maintainingHuntingTrophiesJamieKripke600 and  expanding sportsmen’s access to public lands that provide important fish and  wildlife habitat and offer valuable opportunities for hunting and fishing. They  note that Heinrich’s announcement coincides not only with the opening of  big-game seasons across the country but also with National Hunting and Fishing  Day and National Public Lands Day, both on Saturday.

“The HUNT Act would open millions of acres of landlocked public lands to  public access, expanding the opportunity for sportsmen to hunt, fish and  otherwise enjoy these uniquely American resources,” said Joel Webster, director  of the Theodore Roosevelt  Conservation Partnership’s Center for Western Lands. “Sportsmen need  two things to be able to hunt and fish: access and opportunity. We appreciate  Senator Heinrich’s leadership in introducing this measure and specifically  addressing the very real challenge of diminished public access to our publicly  owned lands and waters.”

“Ensuring access to America’s public lands is good for people, good for  communities and good for business,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president and CEO  of Outdoor  Industry Association. “I applaud Senator Heinrich for introducing  legislation that reinforces the importance of outdoor recreation to the  economy and improves access for all Americans who enjoy hunting, fishing  and outdoor recreation.”

Heinrich, who often hunts and fishes public lands, acknowledged that  diminished access is a growing problem for sportsmen.

“Sportsmen say their No. 1 concern is the lack of access to our public lands  across the West,” Heinrich stated. “The HUNT Act will open up these areas to  hunting and fishing and grow our thriving outdoor recreation economy in the  process. Hunting and fishing are a way of life for millions of Americans. As an  avid hunter, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage for my  children and for future generations.”

“­­­­­­­­­­­­­­The  HUNT Act exemplifies a pragmatic approach to increasing access to public lands  for hunters and anglers,” said Gaspar Perricone, director of the Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “We commend Senator  Heinrich for his efforts to identify federal landlocked lands and for providing  the necessary recourses to ensure that they are accessible by  sportsmen. The HUNT Act will further reverse the trend of declining access  to public lands for hunters and anglers.

“American outdoors families are frustrated when they have public land on the  map but are effectively locked out,” said Land Tawney, executive director  of Backcountry  Hunters & Anglers. “Senator Heinrich gets it. He hunts public lands, and  this bill corrects that problem, using commonsense tools to open up access to  land that is already in the public domain. That’s a win-win for landowners,  hunters and anglers and all families that love the outdoors.”

“Senator Martin Heinrich’s reintroduction of the HUNT Act is a means to  protect rural economies and our sportsman heritage,” said Kent Salazar,  a National Wildlife  Federation board member whose family has lived and ranched in New  Mexico for several generations. “Without access to public lands for hunting,  fishing and recreating in America’s great outdoors, our economy, our tourism and  our citizens’ health will suffer. As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, I  support Senator Heinrich’s bill because it is good for all  Americans.”

“Heinrich’s perspective on this issue is a genuine one,” said Garrett  VeneKlasen, southwest regional director forTrout  Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “Probably more than most  members of Congress, he hunts and fishes on public lands, so this bill comes  from a place of personal, intimate knowledge. He’s spot on when it comes to  public lands sportsmen’s issues.”

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt,  the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working  together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.  For more  information on the TRCP visit our  website.

Read more: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/10/new-bill-promoting-public-lands-access-for-hunting-angling-draws-praise-from-outdoors-community/#ixzz2j2LJ0bUb

Call Today! The “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012 Must Fail

URGENT!  Before you read another line, pick up your phone, call your Senators and tell them to OPPOSE S 3525 (the so-called, “Sportsmen’s” Act of 2012)! You can find the contact numbers for your senators at the following web page: http://www.senate.gov/

Though the threat of having to watch bowhunter Paul Ryan by crowned Vice President has passed, the specter of sport hunting still haunts the halls of Congress. Under the cunning guise of “conservation,” the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012, S 3525, is a Senate version of the House’s ridiculous “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act” (what will they think of next, a Serial Murderer’s Heritage Act?).

No animal should be reduced to the level of mere object only to be “harvested” at the casual whim of jaded trophy seekers out for a diversion from their meaningless lives.

For the sake of wildlife, public lands and unspoiled wilderness nationwide, we must stop this absurd act from becoming law.

Of course, the animal’s enemies are lining up behind it. According to a new post in Outdoor Life (a popular “sportsmen’s” magazine that actually promotes outdoor death) entitled, “Must-Pass Legislation: Sportsmen’s Act of 2012,”

“The fight for the Sportsmen’s Act isn’t over. The NRA, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Boone and Crocket Club, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a host of other national, regional and local groups are calling all hands to lobby their Senators for passage.”

Make no mistake, those of us who truly care about wildlife wouldn’t want to see this pass even if it were a painfully annoying kidney stone. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 is a must-fail piece of legislation.

 

Thanks to the Animal Welfare Institute for the following action alert:

On November 13, their first day back in session following the recent election, the U.S. Senate will resume consideration of The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525). Please call and urge your Senators to oppose S. 3525.

If enacted, S. 3525 will have substantial and direct adverse impacts on wildlife, public health and existing conservation efforts. This bill would weaken protections offered by laws such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Toxic Substances Control Act and Endangered Species Act. Included in the bill’s language are provisions that would:

•Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate hazardous substances—including lead, a dangerous neurotoxin—released by ammunition and sport fishing waste.

•Encourage federally-funded construction and expansion of public shooting ranges on state and federal land, including land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

•Amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those taken despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports.

This legislation, if enacted, will interfere with important statutory protections affecting animal welfare, human health, and the environment.

The Senate is moving quickly on this bill, so your help is urgently needed TODAY.  Please contact your Senators by phone, email, or fax and tell them to oppose S. 3525!

You can identify your Senators and their contact information here.

Sample Message:

As one of your constituents, I urge you to help protect human health, wildlife and public lands by voting against S. 3525. This legislation, if passed, will undermine provisions of existing conservation statutes including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. It will also interfere with the exercise of authority by federal agencies responsible for managing federal lands and protecting public health. Please oppose S. 3525, and help to protect wildlife, habitat and the public.

Thank you,