WASHINGTON – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today welcomed the introduction in the U.S. Senate of the American Power Act, energy and climate legislation that takes the first step toward better safeguarding public fish and wildlife resources in the face of increased energy development and accelerating global climate change.
“Today, our Senate leaders took unprecedented action in addressing the profound impacts that climate change and energy development activities can have on our natural resources and fish and wildlife,” said William Geer, director of the TRCP Center for Western Lands. “We appreciate their dedication to issues of crucial importance to American sportsmen and look forward to working further with them to assure dedicated funding for the future of our nation’s cherished outdoor heritage.”
The TRCP and its partners in the sportsmen-conservation community have established a longstanding record of involvement in promoting public policy that sustains fish and game populations and public hunting and fishing opportunities. Today’s bill introduction by Sens. John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman represents the culmination of dedicated efforts by hunters and anglers to assure that natural resources conservation is adequately considered in congressional action addressing energy and climate change.
“As we struggle to address the negative impacts of climate change on public lands and hunting and fishing, dedicated adaptation-focused funding will be essential in conserving fish and wildlife populations,” continued Geer. “While the Senate considers this important legislation, sportsmen maintain that adaptation strategies in state wildlife action plans will enable the comprehensive and proactive management of affected species during the challenges presented by climate change.”
The TRCP also stressed the need for strong, comprehensive national energy policy that enables the responsible management of fish and wildlife resources, both onshore and offshore, throughout all phases of project planning and development.
“While sportsmen appreciate congressional efforts to better manage public lands and waters during energy development, we still are waiting for action by the administration regarding promises that were made earlier this year,” said Tom Franklin, TRCP director of policy and government relations. “Effective energy policy by necessity will address fish and wildlife conservation as detailed in recommendations by the TRCP and our allies in the sportsmen’s community. We look forward to our continued discussions with Congress to assure that these objectives are achieved.”
Climate change is acknowledged by sportsmen as a serious threat to America’s hunting and fishing opportunities. A consortium of hunting and angling groups, including the TRCP, recently released “Beyond Seasons’ End,” a report addressing how the negative effects of climate change on fish and wildlife populations can be mitigated through adaptive management strategies. Necessary to funding such practical approaches is the passage of national legislation.
A policy briefing on “Beyond Seasons’ End” was held today in Denver. Policy implications and goals for climate change legislation were discussed during the event, where speakers included Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.
“State wildlife agencies can and will implement the common-sense recommendations that are spelled out and ‘cost out’ in ‘Beyond Seasons’ End’ if dedicated funding can be provided through national legislation,” said Tom Remington, director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. “There are science-based strategies that can restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat, secure migration corridors and connectivity between habitats, and allocate water for sport fish.”
The TRCP and its partners believe that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife and the CAST principles .
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.