U.S. Capitol

House Sportsmen’s Bill a Nightmare for Wildlife

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2406, the so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE) Act of 2015.” Unfortunately, as we’ve repeatedly seen in other bills making their way through Congress lately, it’s rife with toxic provisions that threaten wildlife and public lands, erode bedrock environmental laws and undermine key conservation policies.

Here’s a breakdown of the worst attacks in this nightmare of a bill, and what they mean for our wildlife and public lands:

Wolf, © Mike Wheeler

Continuing the War on Wolves

H.R. 2406 undermines science-based decision making under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by removing federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming and the Great Lakes region. This overrides two federal court decisions that found the state management plans at issue weren’t good enough to justify the removal of ESA protections for wolves. It also bars citizens from going to court to further challenge these delistings. The appeals processes on the two federal court decisions are still underway, and while it’s damaging for Congress to micromanage ESA listings at any stage, now is a particularly poor time.

Jeopardizing African Elephants

An elephant is poached every 15 minutes for its ivory tusks, fueling black markets, funding organized criminal networks and pushing this majestic species to the brink of extinction. Nonetheless, the Sportsmen’s Bill blocks efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to crack down on ivory trafficking and the domestic sale of illegal ivory. The bill also amends the ESA to allow sport hunters to continue to bring their elephant trophies into the U.S., even as the dramatic decline in elephant populations could ultimately result in the listing of African elephants as an endangered species. Together, these provisions undercut the recent commitment between the United States and China to halt the illegal ivory trade in both countries, and would make the United States complicit in the African elephant poaching crisis.

Grizzly bear cub, © Mike Madel/MFWP

Barring Conservation Measures for Iconic Wildlife in Alaska

Right now, the FWS and National Park Service (NPS) are working to prevent the state of Alaska from allowing potentially harmful practices in non-subsistence hunting of wolves, grizzly bears and other large carnivores in national wildlife refuges and national preserves across Alaska. Extreme predator control activities can have serious impacts on wildlife, yet H.R. 2406 strips both FWS and NPS of their ability to stop these efforts from moving forward.

Attacks on our National Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas and other Public Lands

H.R. 2406 rolls back important protections for our public lands. It recklessly waives environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act for all management activities on all 150 million acres of our National Wildlife Refuge System, putting massive amounts of crucial wildlife habitat at risk. It scales back the strength of congressional wilderness designations, opening pristine lands to road development, motorized vehicles and other activities that degrade wildlife habitat and contradict the very purpose of wilderness areas. It also expands the definition of “hunting” on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands to include commercial trapping, which could open up millions of acres of public lands to trapping where it may currently be prohibited.

Preventing Regulation of Toxic Lead

In the United States, an estimated 3,000 tons of lead are shot into the environment through hunting every year, another 80,000 tons are released at shooting ranges, and 4,000 are lost in ponds and streams as fishing lures and sinkers, leading to the death of millions of birds and other wildlife from lead poisoning. Yet the Sportsmen’s Bill weakens the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate lead in nearly all forms of ammunition and fishing tackle. It also bars the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture from controlling use of lead on BLM and Forest Service lands.

This bill is a complete disaster for wildlife at home and abroad, and a nightmare for our public lands. While its supposed goal is to expand sporting opportunities on public lands, judging by these provisions, it’s clear that the Sportsmen’s Bill has become a Trojan horse for special interests seeking to diminish environmental protections for our land, water and wildlife. And most disturbing of all – it passed the House of Representatives. Thankfully, this isn’t the end of the matter.

Our legislative team is working hard to ensure that H.R. 2406 and similar bills that attack wildlife do not pass the Senate and are never signed into law by the President. But how much time will Congress waste attempting to move toxic legislation that benefits special interests, instead of working to protect of our lands and wildlife for future generations?

Stop the War on Wildlife

If H.R. 2406 passes the Senate, it will be a death sentence for wolves, elephants and other vulnerable wildlife. Help us make sure this bill never becomes law.

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27 Responses to “House Sportsmen’s Bill a Nightmare for Wildlife”

  1. Marianne

    This cynical, short-sighted bill takes nothing into consideration beyond the self-centered pleasure of the worst sort of hunters.

  2. Kirsty Shirlaw

    This bill is stupid STOP HUNTTING THE WOLF’S BEARS and all the wildlife IF YOU Want To HUNT ANYONE HUNT DOWN THE HUNTERS and JALL them. LEAVE the WOLF’S ALONE NOW! !!!

  3. Marie Dixon

    HR2406 is a means to waste natural resources and diminish interior stability of environmental balance. It is a mistake. Think of a new way.

  4. Rose

    Please ensure that H.R. 2406 and similar bills that attack wildlife and lands Do Not pass the Senate and are never signed into law by the President. Please Stop this!!!!
    Outlaw & arrest these people pushing bills through that are killing our earth & animals for profits.

  5. Connie Burris

    This bill is horrendously unjust this bill destroys nature as we know it and puts people in harms way I don’t know why anyone would think this bill is ok to pass these representatives are not using science based decisions they are just doing what they want for themselves and the hunters and I can’t believe they think you should not have a right to sue it is supposed to be a free country Right!!! This bill is a abomination to the people of theU.S.

    • Amelia Boyer

      Me too. Thanks to gerrymandering it makes no difference to who represents me in the House of Representatives 🙁

  6. Carol Nolet Curtis

    I think we’ve taken the biblical concept of human dominion way too far now. Animals have little chance of getting away from an AK-47. There used to be an element of fairness in sportsmanship. Now it’s just about us and them. And they will lose if we carry on like this. It’s their world too.

  7. Yuri Solov

    Emails sent to my Senators… Are there any online petitions directed to our Reps & Senators about this bill, which ‘we the people’ can sign ??? Thx

    • Defenders of Wildlife

      Hello Yuri. Unfortunately, this bill has already passed in the House and is moving to the Senate, so there is no petition to sign. But we’re gearing up for a fight so that this and similar bills that attack wildlife do not pass the Senate and are never signed into law by the President. Stay tuned for more information!

  8. Candy Sullivan

    This Statewide, national and global WAR ON WILDLIFE IS NOT BASED ON ANY SCIENCE AND MUST BE STOPPED!!
    This movement is based on blood lust and will destroy our natural wild life. Speak up for animals !! We are losing THOUSANDS OF WILD ANIMALS EVERYDAY!! Wake up!!

    • Mark Kiernan

      Wolves have killed more Elk in Idaho ,Montana and Wyoming than all the hunters in the Mountain west combined.

  9. Janice

    I agree with yuri about petitions . It is only when our congress believes they hv more to lose by selling our country to the highest bidder -that they will stop. Defenders should get us the names of which senators hv sold their vote to special interests already for this Bill and who we can still influence with a petition.

  10. Ryan

    we’re adding this story to our news program. Thanks Haley for breaking this down for us. ecodefenseradio.org

  11. Dan Hetland

    The name of this bill is disingenuous at best as there is nothing sportsman about it. It bears no resemblance to anything sporting in the least as “sporting” supposedly connotes fair play. Even the concept of killing an endangered species, such as the African Elephant for fun is repugnant to anyone with a conscience. These magnificent animals attempt to live peacefully if family units for their entire lives, yet for a trait of nature, their tusk made of Ivory, make them targets of greedy poachers and black marketeers, thru no fault of their own. Purported “big game hunters,” who seek the thrill of killing a grizzly bear, just for the sake of killing, are weak-minded individuals who should never be granted a license to hunt in the first place. They are not hunting for sustenance, but for “bragging rights,” and to make themselves feel adequate again. This bill is a farce and supported only by a single party, which we all know all feel inadequate because their party is failing miserably where it counts. This bill must be rejected by the Senate.

  12. Tracey Williamson

    Does Defenders support trophy hunting ? I know WWF does and had heard that you do as well. I would like to know.
    As far as this bill, more pandering to the NRA , hunting interests and Congress’s own hunting club.
    Wildlife warriors need to start buying hunting tags and shutting hunters out and call for the already embedded laws that hand the wildlife over to hunters be overturned.
    Hunting is not conservation is is only big money and a so called sport for stunted people.

    • Defenders of Wildlife

      Hi Tracey,
      Defenders is opposed to sport or trophy hunting of any imperiled species. In fact, we’ve worked hard to put a stop to it, whether by activating our membership to respond to a specific threat, working with state or federal officials to encourage other methods of wildlife management, or even going to court when the situation merits it.

  13. kate gervais

    If this bill goes through, supporting basically trophy hunters, it will be the end of what is special and beautiful in our country and others, Wildlife will be slaughtered and abused, these hunters don’t follow the rules, as with the poor wolf who was delisted and became part of horrific killing games in both montana and Idaho.
    This bill would open up what is left of our precious wildlands to multi use of every kind, there will be nothing left for future generations..i want to remind you that this opens up trapping, and aerial shooting of these innocent creature including the small cubs and baby elephants…if this goes through I am sickened by the humans that would be for such a terrible bill.

  14. Vicki O'Neill

    This type of bill that would enialate our wildlife who are already fighting so hard to survive should have never been proposed.
    Why is it that most of our wildlives fate is decided by ruthless trophy hunters or sadistic animal haters.
    People are overwhelmingly against delisting our wildlife and our letters , petitions seem to fall on deaf ears.
    What would our world be like without the diversity of our magnificant wildlife?
    If this SHARE Act is passed it will be open season on all our wildlife . The wolves, elephants, grizzlies are on the edge of extinction .Each species plays a significant role in our ecosystem and balance of wildlife.
    We have to fight this bill by asking Pres.Obama to Veto it if it passes the Senate. Call and write our Senators. Support our fighting wildlife organizations . Tweet and facebook..spread the word as many are not aware of this hideous bill .

  15. Randy Haugen

    We support Defenders with a gift of 300 bucks a year,How about Everyone who cares do the same thing??

  16. Brandon

    Please help all the animals I have a favorite animal about to become extinct!:(

  17. Chris Champion

    Save wildlife, it’s the only beauty we have to appreciate. I love the wolves.

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