Sportsmen Share Priorities With New Interior Chief

Fish and Wildlife conservation, implementation of leasing reforms top list of sportsmen's priorities for Sally Jewell

04-10-2013 // Judith Kohler
Three men hunting

A national sportsmen's coalition looks forward to working with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on continuing the important job of restoring balance to public-lands management and implementing oil and gas leasing reforms started by her predecessor.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development congratulated Jewell on her confirmation by the U.S. Senate Wednesday and urged her to provide strong leadership to conserve clean air and water, fish and wildlife habitat and preserve the public-lands legacy that has helped shape the nation’s economy and identity.

"SFRED and millions of sportsmen believe in responsible development of energy resources on our multiple use public lands. We are not, however, willing to sacrifice fish and wildlife habitat, populations, water resources, and recreational opportunities to poorly planned development," the CEOs and presidents of the coalition’s three lead partners wrote in an April 10 letter to Jewell.

The letter lists the coalition’s top six priorities and was signed by Larry Schweiger of the National Wildlife Federation, Whit Fosburgh of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Chris Wood of Trout Unlimited.

Topping the list of sportsmen’s priorities is implementation of the oil and gas leasing reforms announced in 2010 to sustain fish and wildlife and the hunting, fishing and recreation so important to the economy. Chief among the reforms hunters and anglers are eager to see realized is the master leasing plan concept,a key tool for federal land managers in places where mineral resources and key fish and wildlife resources overlap.

Other priorities in the SFRED letter are:

Renewable energy development – "Smart from the start"’ policies will avoid and minimize conflicts with fish, wildlife and sportsmen.

Oil shale – Companies must show they can produce a usable fuel in environmentally and economically sound ways before commercial leases on public lands are approved.

Hydraulic fracturing – Interior should require disclosure of the chemicals used in "fracking"and set robust standards for well integrity.

Categorical exclusions – The rulemaking must be completed on the appropriate use of expedited environmental reviews. In the past, they have been used to advance oil and gas projects that had significant environmental impacts.

Mitigation – Interior should continue its support of conservation groups’ efforts to develop and integrate landscape-scale considerations to avoid and minimize the effects of energy development on public lands.

As Interior secretary, Jewell will oversee vast federal holdings totaling about one-fifth of the nation’s land mass. These include vital watersheds, crucial wildlife habitat and places where millions of Americans hunt, fish and recreate.

"The American people love their public lands. Fiscal Year 2010 saw more than 58 million visitors to lands administered by the Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with a resulting benefit of $7.4 billion dollars to the economy," the SFRED CEOs wrote to Jewell. "We stand ready to help DOI ensure sustainable, responsible energy development that maintains or enhances fish and wildlife habitat and quality recreational opportunities for all Americans."

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition of more than 500 businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on public lands.

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