Climate

Hundreds Of Hunting And Fishing Groups Voice Their Support For Action On Climate Change

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Hundreds of sportsmen’s groups want President Obama to act on climate change, and they think the administration’s recent power plant rule is a pretty good way to do it.

On Wednesday, 325 hunting, fishing, and outdoors groups and individuals signed a letter to the president voicing their support for the Administration’s rule aimed at curbing carbon emissions from existing power plants. The sportsmen’s groups, which include Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever, are part of what they say is a $90 billion hunting and fishing industry and combined represent millions of members.

“As hunters and anglers, we see first-hand how climate change is altering habitat and putting our outdoor heritage at risk,” the groups state in the letter. “As stewards for future generations, it is our obligation to conserve land and water resources by advancing climate-adaptation strategies that promote healthy fish and wildlife populations, and sustain the forests, grasslands, rivers and other systems on which they — and we — depend.”

The groups singled out the president’s Climate Action Plan and executive order on climate preparedness as positive steps toward protecting the environment from the worst impacts of climate change, and said that they were especially pleased by the president’s “recognition that responding to climate change requires steps to reduce the carbon pollution that threatens fish and wildlife.” The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its proposed rule on existing power plants in June, a regulation that aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The groups’ support of action on climate change isn’t surprising. A 2012 poll found that 69 percent of hunter and angler respondents thought the U.S. needed to reduce its carbon emissions, and that 59 percent thought climate change was occurring. And many hunting and fishing groups double as conservation groups — Trout Unlimited has undertaken multiple conservation projects throughout the U.S., and the group says it has helped protect 13 million acres of “healthy backcountry habitat.” Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever also work to conserve bird habitat — the local chapters of Pheasants Forever work to persuade landowners to donate land to the USDA’s Continuous Conservation Reserve Program, and so far, the group’s efforts have resulted in 200,000 acres being enrolled in the program in the state of Iowa alone.

And there are groups that are focused specifically on climate change, too. One group that signed on to the letter, Conservation Hawks, was created in 2012 with the sole purpose of rallying the support of sportsmen and women to combat climate change.

“The fact that it’s happening, that we are responsible, it’s as plain as the fact that smoking causes cancer,” Todd Tanner, founder of Conservation Hawks, told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “For us as a country — as outdoorsmen — to wish it away. It’s not realistic. We’re not upholding our responsibility to ourselves and our kids.”