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Round 2: CSF President Jeff Crane Returns to Hearing Stand to Testify on the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015

March 17, 2015 (Washington, DC) - "Much like a successful hunt, when it comes to passing legislation, patience and persistence usually leads to success in the field," said Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane after his testimony last week before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on S.556, the first half of the bifurcated sportsmen's package titled, Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 (S.405). This persistence continued today as Crane testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife on S.659, which contains the second half of S.405's provisions.

 

The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 was introduced on February 5 by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Members Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), with the bipartisan Senate CSC leadership as original co-sponsors. Senate CSC leaders for the 114th Congress include: Co-Chairs Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Vice-Chairs Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). The package contains 14 provisions that would trigger regulatory reforms and improve habitat conservation, aimed at helping strengthen the sportsmen's traditions across America.

 

"This legislation represents years of hard work by the sporting community and I am appreciative of the efforts that have gone into crafting this collection of bills that have demonstrated broad bipartisan support of the years including measures that enjoy the support of the Obama Administration," said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), CSC Member and Chairman of the Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife Subcommittee. "I am hopeful that in this Congress we will be able to take these efforts across the finish line because doing so means more opportunities for America's sporting community and importantly, more dollars for wildlife conservation."

 

CSC Vice-Chair Senator Fischer also addressed the hearing attendees. "I am proud to be Vice-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus and I am very happy to be a cosponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act," said Senator Fischer. "I am very grateful for the work of the Sportsmen's Caucus in developing this important legislation."

 

The provisions under the purview of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee were bundled into S. 659 and include:

  • Sec. 2 - Modification of Definition of Sport Fishing Equipment under the Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Sec. 3 - Target Practice and Marksmanship
  • Sec. 4 - Permits for Importation of Polar Bear Trophies Taken in Sport Hunts in Canada
  • Sec. 5 - Baiting of Migratory Game Birds
  • Sec. 6 - Protecting the Right of Individuals to Bear Arms at Water Resources Development Projects
  • Sec. 7 - North American Wetlands Conservation Act
  • Sec. 8 - Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization
  • Sec. 9 - Interest on Obligations Held in the Wildlife Restoration Fund

"This is common sense legislation with strong bipartisan support that is good for conservation and protects our outdoor heritage," said Crane. "It is also good for the American economy, especially for rural communities that surround our treasure of public lands and waters. With an ever increasing population, it provides clarity and certainty that access to our federal lands and waters will remain available for hunting, recreational shooting, angling, and other outdoor pursuits for generations to come."

 

Among others, these provisions include: making permanent the existing exemption of lead ammunition from the Toxic Substances Control Act, and adds lead fishing tackle to the exemption; extends and increases states' authority to allocate Pittman-Robertson funding for shooting ranges on public lands; authorizes state extension offices to determine "normal agricultural practices" and reinterprets the Migratory Bird Treaty Act which currently includes hunting of migrating birds on rolled rice fields as illegal baiting; and reauthorizes the North American Wetlands Conservation Act through 2019, providing matching grants to organizations, state and local governments, and private landowners for the restoration and enhancement of wetlands habitat.

 

Crane noted that, "Unlike some other outdoor recreational activities, hunting and shooting, in particular, are under constant siege by well-funded, politically and legally active groups that are intent on ending to the traditions we cherish. Through the use of frivolous lawsuits and judicial action, these anti-use and animal rights extremists are using the courts instead of relying on science-based wildlife management to achieve their anti-hunting/fishing agenda. Legal challenges to the application of the statutory and administrative policies that guide federal land management and conservation are effectively tying the hands of the public land managers and state wildlife officials, which in turn, deny access and opportunity."

 

There to testify alongside Crane was Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. Additionally, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, testified in opposition to certain included provisions within S. 405.

 

CSF will continue to assist in advancing this Senate legislation while working with the CSC leadership to introduce a similar sportsmen's package in the House.

 

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Since 1989 CSF has maintained a singleness of purpose that has guided the organization to become the most respected and trusted sportsmen's organization in the political arena. CSF's mission is to work with Congress, governors, and state legislatures to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping. The unique and collective force of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC), the Governors Sportsmen's Caucus (GSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses (NASC), working closely with CSF, and with the support of major hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trapping organizations, serves as an unprecedented network of pro-sportsmen elected officials that advance the interests of America's hunters and anglers.

Working with Congress, Governors and State Legislatures to protect and advance hunting,
angling, recreational shooting and trapping.

 

For more information on the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation go to SportsmensLink.org or contact Sara Leonard at 202.543.6850 x 11 or email sara@sportsmenslink.org.