A package of energy bills being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives directly threatens hunting, fishing and recreation on public lands. Photo by Dusan Smetana.
A package of energy bills being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives directly threatens hunting, fishing and recreation on public lands because it favors drilling over all other land uses and rolls back reasonable regulations, a sportsmen’s coalition says.
Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development notes that the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act (H.R. 4480) would speed leasing and permitting of public lands at the expense of public input and reforms that have reduced lease protests by addressing potential conflicts upfront. One provision would charge citizens $5,000 to protest a drilling permit or lease and limit the courts’ ability to right federal agencies’ wrongs.
“Conserving public lands in the Rocky Mountain West pays off in dependable jobs, population and income growth in comparison to the boom-and-bust cycles typical of energy-focused economies,” said Ed Arnett, director of the TRCP Center for Responsible Energy Development. “Meanwhile, the country is seeing record oil production and plummeting natural gas prices due to an oversupply, and oil and gas leases on 20 million acres of federal land are sitting idle.”
Sportsmen’s groups acknowledge the need for sensible energy development, but want to ensure it’s done in a balanced manner.
“Common-sense leasing reforms have helped restore balance to energy development on public lands,” said Brad Powell, energy director for TRCP partner Trout Unlimited. “We shouldn’t roll back safeguards for our public lands and endanger hunting, fishing and other activities that are vital to rural economies across the region and the cornerstone of our Western heritage and lifestyle.”
Hunters and anglers are voicing concerns about the rush to accelerate drilling and the possible effects of unbalanced energy development on valuable fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. Take action today.
Read a new report highlighting the economic benefits of conserving public lands.
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