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Old 12-05-2012, 09:08 AM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

The Sportsmen’s Act: Time to Get It Done

By Chris Wood and Larry J. Schweiger


If you hunt or fish, you should expect better from the U.S. Senate. Last week, the Senate had an opportunity to pass a collection of bills known as the Sportsmen’s Act—one of the most significant pieces of hunting and fishing legislation in a generation.

The bill would create or reauthorize programs that protect and sustain our fishing and hunting heritage, and the $646 billion in annual economic activity associated with the outdoors. The bill was fully funded, and then some, by hunters through an increase in the price of duck stamps. Still, 44 Senators, 43 Republicans and one Democrat, voted to block the bill for arcane budgeting reasons—even though the bill would actually reduce the federal deficit. With time quickly running out on this Congress, it was a major setback for hunters and anglers.

Here’s what those Senators voted to block:

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act, our nation’s most effective wetland conservation program
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which combines public and private funding to support habitat restoration and protection
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan, which supports regional partnerships that enhance and restore fisheries
The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, which enables federal land managers to sell lands with low resource values and acquire those with quality habitat and fishing and hunting access
A program to dedicate a portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to securing access for fishing and hunting.

If you fish or hunt, or own a business that depends on fishing and hunting, you would have benefited from this legislation.

According to a 2011 study by the Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 90 million Americans fish, hunt or watch wildlife. Those 90 million-plus people spend over $145 billion on those activities, supporting millions of jobs around the country. In addition to supporting the economy, hunters and anglers generate revenue for conservation through purchase of licenses and taxes on fishing and hunting equipment.

Organizations like ours invest millions of volunteer hours each year to protect and restore the habitat that supports fishing and hunting. The Sportsmen’s Act would leverage our contributions on a national scale so the next generation of Americans could enjoy the same opportunities we enjoy today. The Senate has put at risk a legacy of better hunting and angling for our kids.

Sportsmen’s organizations have many supporters in Congress. More than 300 members of Congress belong to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, which is co-chaired by the author of the Sportsmen’s Act, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). Yet a bill that we desperately want has been needlessly blocked by partisan bickering as the precious days go by. The parties need to come together and get the job done.

It’s not too late for the Senate to regroup, pass the Sportsmen’s Act, and reaffirm its commitment to America’s sporting heritage. But time is short, and so is the patience of America’s anglers and hunters.


Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. Larry J. Schweiger is the president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:24 AM
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Question Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Is there a list of who voted 'No?'

Fred
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:39 AM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

You have to be very careful what you back that involves the words water, wetland or conservation in the title. They put those in the titles of bills that do not help any of that. Oberstar wrote a bill for wetlands that would have taken your land if it had a puddle in it for any extended period of time and God help you if a duck landed in it. It failed. He repackaged it. It failed. He repackaged it again. It failed again. Why? Because despite the nice sounding title it was a nightmarish land and power grab. After Oberstar's tricks, I don't trust anything that remotely looks like his nonsense and this does. First thing I'd do if I were even remotely looking at this bill is see where Tester fell on the Oberstar bill. Then look at this with a magnifying glass and two lawyers.

History on why I don't trust these;
Sportsmen: Beware the Clean Water Restoration Act
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
Is there a list of who voted 'No?'
S Amdt 2875 Sportsmen's Act of 2012 - Voting Record - Project Vote Smart
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:14 AM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Just to add a bit to Dan's excellent post, the Logging community here in Oregon is up in arms. If this thing passes it would all but shut down the industry even on private land. Logging requires roads to get equipment/trucks/etc., in/out. Run off from these would be considered a source point under the Act.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:54 AM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

I consider myself politically informed, for the most part. I read quite a bit and listen the news - NOT cable TV - twice a day, everyday. Yet for even a reasonably educated follower of the political process our system has become so bogged down in rules and inside processes it is nearly impossible for the average American - let alone those of us that try hard to stay informed - to understand how our democracy works.

Before Rip Tide posted the link from Project Vote Smart (thank god for non-profit watchdogs!) I tried to find the vote tally. How hard should that be in this day and age? A couple google searches led to the Senate.gov site. What a convoluted mess that is. Even knowing the bill number I couldn't easily find a list of the votes!

Then we see the tally, 50 yeas against 44 nays with 6 member abstaining for some political reason or another. Democracy, simple majority? Motion rejected.

Fred: did you read in the bill that logging would be ended on public lands? If so, please guide me to the passage. I live in logging country as well, and am sympathetic to the loss of jobs for families and the local economy. I am NOT a zero cut supporter, but I am also not in support of the clear-cutting methods of the 80s and prior when every tributary of the Blackfoot River had a road running right along it, and every spawning stream was choked with silt that nearly killed the entire river system.

There needs to be compromise. It cannot and will not ever again be either clear cutting or no cutting. Neither makes sense. Senator Tester's first major piece of legislation he authored, which was a monumental undertaking for a freshman senator from Montana, was a huge effort to bring together logging, motorized recreation, and wilderness advocates. It mandated logging -- the zero-cut environmentalists went nuts. It closed certain National Forest areas to motorized use, the ATV crowd, that believes they have the "right" to drive wherever they want, went nuts. It opened other areas for ATV use, the wilderness folks screamed. It call for the first Congressional designation for Wilderness Areas in more 30 years - the ATV/don't lock us out/far right hated it of course -- "it will only lead to more, god help us! -- while it wasn't enough for the "tree-huggers."

It was a good bill by all accounts from sensible, reasonable critics. No one gets everything they want! I still believe that S.3525, The Sportsman Act is a good bill and deserves better than party line votes. But here we are, stuck again with the All-Or-Nothing mentality of the 21st C American political system. Win or lose, but dammit, never compromise! And this isn't even a politically charged bill!

To call it disheartening is an understatement.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:18 PM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Here's what's current on the Logging issue: U.S. Supreme Court to hear logging case | The Columbian

Lower left ("More like this") has additional info.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by fredaevans View Post
Here's what's current on the Logging issue: U.S. Supreme Court to hear logging case | The Columbian

Lower left ("More like this") has additional info.
Thanks Fred. I think I misunderstood you. When you said "if this thing passes" I thought you were referring to wording in the Sportsman's Act, which was the thread topic. It wasn't clear that you meant the SCOTUS case in Oregon as the "thing."
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:54 PM
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Wink Re: Urgent request from AFFTA - The Sportsmen's Act of 2012

No worries. Depending on how this goes with the SC the potential for upwards of (as many) 200,000 folks involved (one way or the other) could really be at risk.
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