In early February, the House passed a package of eight bills that are supposed to appeal to hunters and fisherman. For this episode, Jen is joined by Cody Herman, host of Day One Outdoors and owner of Day One Outdoors adventure tour company, who helps Jen understand the bills and discusses whether or not the changes are good.
Passed the House of Representatives on February 5, 2014 by 268-154.
H.R. 3590 is a collection of eight bills, two of which never went through the committee process. The bill in its entirely also never went through committee.
TITLE I: Prevents the EPA from regulating the chemicals in bullets, shot, projectiles, propellents, and primers.
In 2012, a group of 100 environmental organizations asked the EPA to regulate lead in ammunition and fishing tackle as a toxic substance because of the risk lead poisoning poses to animals and humans who eat animals killed by lead bullets and tackle. Lead poisoning has been found in California condors, turkey vultures, ravens, and a mountain lion. Livestock that graze on land contaminated with lead shot often ingest the metal, leading to lead-contaminated meat and dairy products.
In October of 2013, California became the first state to ban lead ammunition. The law will be effective July 2019.
EPA doesn’t currently have the authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate the manufacture or sales of ammunition or tackle containing lead. This title would explicitly prohibit EPA from doing so.
TITLE II: Creates public shooting ranges
Taxpayers currently pay 75% of the construction, operation, and maintenance of public shooting ranges. This bill increases taxpayer obligation to 90% of construction costs and we’ll pay 90% of the cost for buying land for public shooting ranges.
Also, the United States can’t be sued in civil court or in any case demanding money for injury, property loss or damage, or “death caused by an activity occurring” at the public shooting range.
TITLE III: Public Lands Filming for Groups of 5 or Fewer
This title will require a permit and a $200 annual fee for commercial filming activities; if you have a permit, you can’t be assessed “any additional fee” for commercial activities that occur in areas designated for public use during public hours.
Also, the government can’t prohibit the use of motor vehicles from being used for filming on Federal lands and waterways.
TITLE IV: Polar Bear bill
The polar bear was added to the Endangered Species Act on May 15, 2008. On that day, it became illegal for US big-game hunters to bring back polar bear body parts to the United States. This title allows 41 polar bear killers to bring home their dead polar bear body parts – or trophies. The bears were hunted in early 2008, but their killers didn’t import their body parts in time so the parts are now stuck in Canada. The bill would let them bring their hides, claws, teeth, and bear penises into the United States to show off to their friends.
This title is being pushed by Don Young of Alaska, who pushed for it last Congress too. Don Young proudly proclaims to be the only US Congressman to hunt a polar bear.
Many of the 41 hunters are members of Safari Club International, which has given at least $57,897 to Don Young of Alaska, with the largest chunk of that cash coming in for the 2012 election, after he introduced this favor to the Safari Club International members the first time.
TITLE V: Electronic Duck Stamps
States will be allowed to issue electronic duck stamps- a hunting license/collectors item that serves as an entrance pass to wildlife refuges- which will be valid for 45 days.
98 cents of every dollar for them goes towards conservation.
TITLE VI: Weapons Should be Allowed at Water Resource Facilities
Overturns current law that prohibits weapons at water resource projects.
TITLE VII: Establishes an Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Interior
The committee will direct the Secretary of the Interior on how to expand hunting and fishing, promote hunting and fishing, create programs to recruit and retain new hunters and shooters, create programs to “increase public awareness of …the benefits of recreational hunting and shooting”, and programs for conservation.
TITLE VIII: Open Most Federal Land to Hunting and Fishing
- Actions to open up land – including land in National Monuments – will not count as “major actions” and will not be subject to environmental impact analysis
- Lands can be closed for public safety, resource extraction, or compliance with other laws.
- Orders the government to open more shooting ranges and exempts the government from any liability for injuries, damages, or deaths that occur on those shooting ranges
- National Parks will not be affected
- Prohibits any further restriction of motorized vessels in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which is a battle being waged by freshman Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri’s 8th district. The problem is that people are running ATV’s that damage the vegetation, motorboats are threatening the safety of people on canoes and the motors pollute the river water, and people are pulling trucks into the river and having parties on the gravel bars. Also, horse owners have created 65 miles of unapproved trails and their horse droppings have created an ecoli problem in the area.
- This overturns a Forest Service decision that prohibits deer hunting with dogs in the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. The decision was made in late 2012 and took effect last year because of safety complaints made by private landowners adjacent to the forest and from people using the land for recreation. Kisatchie National Forest was the only public land where deer hunting with dogs was allowed.
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