House Passes Bill that Could Open Wilderness Areas to Hunting and Fishing
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have approved legislation that would guarantee hunting and fishing rights on some federal lands, possibly even in National Parks.
HR 4089, sponsored by Representative Jeff Miller (R-Florida) would open the way for hunters and sportsmen to operate on properties controlled by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
Supported by the National Rifle Association, the “Sportsman’s Heritage Act” would set up an “open unless closed” policy, according to critics, who say the Department of the Interior would have to take action to close off certain lands, such as Yosemite National Park, from hunting. If enacted, the law would overturn aspects of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which forbids motorized vehicles from entering wilderness areas.
The bill was passed in the House by a vote of 274 to 146, with 39 Democrats joining 235 Republicans voting in favor. Only two Republicans, Illinois’ Robert Dold and Timothy Johnson, voted no.
Craig Obey, senior vice president of government affairs for the National Parks Conservation Association, told the San Francisco Chronicle: “I think they ought to call it the open season on national parks act,” adding, “This would be the most fundamentally damaging statutory change to the national parks in memory.”
The legislation is now being considered in the U.S. Senate.
To Learn More:
Bill To Hunt on Federal Land Provokes Outrage (by Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle)
Sneak Attack To Gut the Wilderness System and More Is Now 1/3 Complete (by Ralph Maughan, Wildlife News)
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