US House passes SHARE Act: What it means for you

The US House of Representatives has passed the Sportsman' s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (the SHARE Act) H.R 3950, and has introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014 to take the Act forward with the Senate in months to come. Among its many recommendations, the SHARE Act supports increased access to Federal lands and waters for recreational sportsmen.The vote has been met with applause from the sportfishing and hunting industries. It's also an example of a rare bipartisan action in the House, one that did not go unnoticed by American Sportfishing Association Vice President Gordon Robertson, who noted that "The bipartisan vote in the House and bipartisan set of sponsors in the Senate highlight how conservation issues that impact sportsmen and women can cut through partisan politics."The Act covers a fair bit of territory and is worth a read (there's a link at the end of this post to the Act on Congress.gov).Some portions of the Act concern recreational anglers more than others. These are:Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Protection Act: Excludes sportfishing tackle and certain hunting components from the Toxic Substance Control Act. We're curious: Will this make it more difficult to find out what materials go in to your rig, and into the water and fish?Public Lands Filming: if you have a film crew of five or fewer people, you will need to get a permit for commercial filming activities or similar projects on federal land and waterways. The permit will be good for 12 months.Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act Here's where things get both more interesting and also more boring (boring but necessary). Presented with commentary, and there is a link to the full text of the Act below so you can read it for yourselves.The "Fish On!" proposal: The Act sets out that recreational fishing and hunting are environmentally acceptable and beneficial activities that occur and can be provided on public lands and waters without adverse effects on other uses or users. So fish on, everyone! Fish on, within reason: federal public land management agencies can still shut off access to public waters if they are unsafe, and the BLM and Forest Service land, while still open for use (save for the Outer Continental Shelf), can likewise be closed for fishing if it's not safe. Or for energy and mineral production, and some other things, says the Act. The "Play Nice" proposals: Requires federal public land management officials, along with state and federal agencies, to make sure that federal land can be used for fishing, sport hunting and recreational shooting, except when the SHARE Act says otherwise. Also, SHARE indicates that in cases where public land is being considered for these activities, the availability of recreational fishing nearby has no bearing on whether more recreational fishing can happen. Finally, the Act reaffirms that Wilderness Act provisions about use for "wilderness purposes" cannot undermine conservation efforts, and that commodity development, use or extraction, or permanent road construction within designated wilderness areas, is prohibited.The proposal that's too legalese-y to understand: "Prohibits actions taken under this Act or actions concerning the National Wildlife Refuge System under the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 from being considered to be a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." <- This is verbatim from the Summary. Does anyone understand it? We don't.The "Just Common Sense" proposals: The Act requires biennial reports on federal public land closures, and everyone still needs to pay attention to what President Clinton set out in a 1995 Executive order concerning recreational angling protections, and what President Bush set out in a 2007 Executive order concerning hunting heritage and wildlife conservation.The full text of the Act can be found on the US Congress website.  Read the SHARE Act (H.R. 3590) here
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