House Sportsmen’s Bill Passes Riddled with Toxic Anti-Wildlife Provisions
WASHINGTON (Friday, February 26, 2016) – Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2406, the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015.” This damaging legislation contains a broad range of destructive provisions that threaten wildlife and public lands, erode bedrock environmental laws and undermine key long-standing conservation policies.
Some of the most egregious provisions block recent efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to crack down on the illegal ivory trade and the sale of smuggled ivory within the United States– even as African elephants are being poached to the brink of extinction for their ivory tusks. Additional provisions upend management of our National Wildlife Refuge System, weaken longstanding protections for public lands and prohibit federal agencies from regulating toxic lead in most forms of ammunition and fishing tackle.
The addition of poison pill amendments to the bill prior to passage make it an even greater disaster for wildlife― namely, inclusion of an amendment which delists gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region, and an amendment which blocks FWS from finalizing regulations that would protect large carnivores on national wildlife refuges in Alaska by barring the state from authorizing extreme anti-predator practices such as the use of traps or bait in brown bear hunting, hunting wolves and coyotes during denning season, hunting bear cubs or bear sows with cubs, and facilitating the hunting of bears and wolves through the use of airplanes.
The following is a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife:
“This bill is a complete disaster for wildlife. It’s full of toxic provisions that undermine efforts to protect species here in the United States and abroad. The sections that block the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to crack down on the illegal ivory trade is particularly shameful as it clearly puts special interests before the protection of imperiled African elephants--even though an elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory tusks.
“The SHARE Act also includes a provision that blocks the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s common-sense proposal to safeguard brown bears and wolves on national wildlife refuges in Alaska by prohibiting certain extreme anti-predator hunting practices that most hunters want nothing to do with, including hunting wolves and coyotes during denning season and bear cubs or sows with cubs. This provision ties the hands of the FWS and undermines its ability to meet the conservation mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System and its mandate to conserve wildlife in their natural diversity on refuges in Alaska.
“Finally, the war on wolves continues with Rep. Ribble’s amendment to revive faulty and flawed U.S. Fish and Wildlife wolf delisting regulations that strip Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolf populations in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region.
“Representatives who led the charge in opposing these attacks, including Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), are to be commended for their conservation courage and leadership as is Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) who offered an unsuccessful amendment to afford long overdue permanent protection in the form of federal wilderness designation to the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.”
“These outrageous attacks on wildlife absolutely cannot go unchallenged. We will be working with the Senate and the President to block this type of extreme legislation from becoming law."
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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org.