The most significant pro-sportsmen’s legislation of the past 15 years is now in the U.S. Senate. Michigan’s Senator Debbie Stabenow is one of a handful of Senators that can determine whether the bill makes it to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.
H.R. 4089, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012, addresses top priority issues of the sportsmen’s community. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support on Tuesday, April 17th by a vote of 274-146. Read more on H.R. 4089 below.
Without Senator Stabenow’s support, the bill may not get a vote in the Senate! Michigan sportsmen should call Senator Stabenow today and ask her to support H.R. 4089.
Facing re-election, Senator Stabenow is in an influential position to push Senate leadership for a vote on the measure. Sportsmen need to call on the Senator to do just that.
Michigan sportsmen can help protect the future of hunting, fishing, and shooting by contacting Senator Stabenow and asking for her support. Contact Senator Stabenow at: Phone: (202) 224-4822 Online: Click here to contact Sen. Stabenow online.
The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012, H.R. 4089, would: Classify Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service lands as open to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting unless closed or restricted based on scientific evidence; Confirm that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ban lead in traditional ammunition or in sport fishing gear; Protect recreational shooting on BLM National Monument lands; and Allow the import of 41 legally hunted polar bear trophies tangled in federal red-tape.
A major focus of the organizations that helped craft H.R. 4089 is to prevent frivolous lawsuits that unfairly restrict the rights of hunters, anglers and shooters and limit wildlife conservation and management. Over the last decade anti-hunting groups and their trial lawyers have filed multiple suits in courts arguing that existing federal law does not allow, or requires restrictions on fishing, hunting, and shooting on federal public lands. Defending against these suits has cost state and federal wildlife agencies and sportsmen’s organizations, including the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), millions of dollars. H.R. 4089 declares that federal BLM and Forest Service lands, which total over 700 million acres, be declared legally open to fishing, hunting, and shooting unless closed by specific agency action.
The bill also protects fishing tackle and ammunition from attacks. Recently, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the federal government to force the U.S. EPA to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. Their claim misrepresented the intent of the Toxic Substance Control Act which was enacted in 1976 to allow the EPA to regulate new commercial chemicals entering the market and the distribution of existing chemicals found to pose unreasonable risks to public health or the environment. It was never intended to allow the regulation of ammunition and fishing tackle.
The 41 polar bear trophies were taken before the bear was listed as an endangered species (over strong scientific objections from the hunting and conservation community as well as the Canadian government) but could not be imported legally after the listing occurred. The provision enables hunters to bring home their taxidermy mounts and capes. It does not permit any additional polar bear trophies to be imported into the U.S.
In addition to the USSA, H.R. 4089 is supported by an array of sporting conservation groups including the American Sportfishing Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International, and many other prominent hunting organizations. A complete listing of supporters can be found here.