Silent Swing: On Trips Through NH, Candidates Failing to Talk Conservation

01-04-2012 // Eric Orff - National Wildlife Federation Outreach Consultant

This excerpt is from a Foster's Daily Democrat op-ed

From Theodore Roosevelt creating the National Parks System to Richard Nixon establishing the Environmental Protection Agency to George H.W. Bush signing a strengthened Clean Air Act, Republicans have a long history of supporting common sense solutions to problems facing our wildlife, air, water and public health. Will this year’s crop of GOP candidates follow that conservative presidential tradition?

So far, the signs aren’t promising. I’ve heard plenty about jobs, but little of protecting the rivers, lakes and wildlife habitat that supports thousands of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation related jobs across New Hampshire. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife, in New Hampshire 228,000 people spent $177 million on fishing in 2006. Every dollar spent on conservation programs here in New Hampshire delivers jobs and economic activity.

Right now the Granite State duck hunters are asking “Where are the ducks?” and fishermen and women are asking “Where is the ice?” Until just a few days ago, going into late December, there was no ice in much of New Hampshire. Worse yet to the north in Maine and beyond winter and the snow and ice normally expected by now has not happened. As a result ducks and geese have been slow to migrate south to the New Hampshire’s coast this fall. And safe ice for this state’s ice fishermen is but a wish for now. Both this state’s hunters and fishermen are impacted by a warming climate. Worse yet all of the dozens of businesses that count on these sportsmen and women are up against a tough economy worsened by the lack of ice and snow. A good old fashioned winter just can’t be counted on any more it seems. 

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