From Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation
April 17, 2012 - Today, The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089) was passed with a strong bipartisan vote of 274 to 146 in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by the leaders of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC), the bill hit the House floor after being reported out of the House Committee on Natural Resources in late February.
An amendment supported by The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) to clarify that the protection given hunting and fishing in wilderness areas is not intended to permit motorized recreation, mineral extraction, etc. was adopted. Three amendments that the CSF strongly opposed on the grounds that they would gut key provisions of this pro-sportsmen legislation were resoundingly defeated.
"I think it is important to recognize the contributions that sportsmen make to protect our nation's most precious resources. Outdoor activities like hunting and fishing are a central part of our heritage and way of life, but they also help fund a good portion of our conservation efforts," said CSC co-chair Congressman Jeff Miller. "We must remain ever diligent to ensure the rights of sportsmen. Thanks to the members of the Sportsmen's community, Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and the House Committee on Natural Resources, H.R. 4089 will be able to address some of the most pressing concerns the outdoors community faces."
The CSF has been diligently working with a multitude of partners in the conservation community to gather support for this legislation. On April 12, 2012, the CSF co-signed a letter, along with 37 other organizations, that stresses the need for this legislation and urges Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to support H.R. 4089.
"This pro-sportsmen's package of bills is the product of the coordinated efforts of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus," said Congressman Mike Ross, co-chairman of the CSC. "The Sportsmen's Caucus has long been an advocate for hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen in our nation's capitol. The passage of this important legislation is crucial to the protection of America's outdoor traditions and the advancement of the rights of hunters and anglers across the nation. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Caucus to promote and protect our sporting heritage."
H.R. 4089 is essential to recognizing the importance of and facilitating the expansion and enhancement of hunting and recreational fishing and shooting. It is a compilation of four different bills (H.R. 2834, H.R. 3440, H.R. 991 and H.R. 1558) that promote and advance our hunting and recreational fishing and shooting heritage. The Sportsmen's Heritage Act reaffirms that hunting and recreational fishing and shooting are important and traditional activities by providing a sound legislative foundation for the advancement of the sporting heritage. Click here to learn more about H.R. 4089.
"The passage of legislation such as this is unprecedented and is largely the result of the bipartisan collaboration of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus," says CSF President, Jeff Crane. "The CSF has been working with Caucus leadership and other Caucus members for several years on a sportsmen's package, and we are thrilled to see our efforts finally come to fruition."
Specifically, H.R. 4089 includes language that:
- requires hunting and recreational shooting and fishing to be recognized activities on all Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands;
- protects recreational shooting on National Monuments under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management;
- amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow hunters who legally harvested polar bears in Canada prior to its listing under the Endangered Species Act to purchase permits in order to transport their trophies into the U.S.; and,
- clarifies that the Environmental Protection Agency does not have the jurisdiction to regulate lead components found in either traditional ammunition or fishing tackle.
As H.R. 4089 progresses through Congress, the CSF will continue to be a voice and an advocate on Capitol Hill for hunters, anglers and recreational shooters across our great nation.