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04/16/2012

House Bill Would Gut Wilderness Act


Wilderness area sign

The U.S. House of Representatives tomorrow will be voting on a bill that will fundamentally undermine the Wilderness Act.  H.R. 4089, the so-called Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012, is at its heart a bill to help the oil, gas and timber industries, not hunters and anglers.

The bill would severely roll-back decades of federal law that protects our public lands. It would alter the Wilderness Act by allowing, for the first time, unfettered motorized use in protected areas as well as potentially allowing the permitting of new mining, oil and gas extraction, and logging. These uses are antithetical to the interests of sportsmen and are not consistent with the uses that Congress has chosen for those areas by designating them as wilderness. The legislation would also exempt certain land-use decisions from the National Environmental Policy Act including decisions that would restrict hunting and fishing in favor of energy development. Finally, the bill would hamper the ability Bureau of Land Management to protect national monuments from vandalism. 

Despite its name, this legislation is in no way a pro-sportsmen bill and would actually do serious damage to the resources needed by sportsmen. Recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting go hand in hand with conservation. The two have been inextricably linked and have worked together for more than a century to create the lasting system of wildlife and public lands protections that safeguard America’s heritage. As any sportsmen will tell you, protected wilderness areas are among the best places to find good hunting and fishing opportunities. This legislation, however, would fundamentally remove those protections and seriously degrade the wildlife habitat that makes them such high-quality resources. 

H.R. 4089 is nothing more than another underhanded attempt to roll back the critical land protection measures that have made this country great.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative's office. Tell your representative to vote NO on H.R. 4089!

(Don't know who your representative is? Go here to find out.)

Photo courtesy Mark Lisac, USFWS

 

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