November 27, 2012

Senate Republicans block hunting bill

The Budget Committee's top Republican objects to spending money on conservation programs.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A wide-ranging bill to give hunters and fishermen more access to public lands stalled in the Senate Monday after Republicans said it spends too much money.

Republicans supported opening lands for outdoorsmen and many other provisions in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but Republican senators blocked the legislation on principle Monday evening in a mostly party-line procedural vote after the Senate Budget Committee's top Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, objected to spending on conservation programs included in the bill.

Voting with other Republicans was Maine Sen. Susan Collins. Sen. Olympia Snowe, also R-Maine, voted to let the legislation proceed.

The sportsmen's bill would increase land access and allow hunters to bring home as trophies 41 polar bears killed in Canada before the government started protecting polar bears as a threatened species. The legislation would also exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, allow bow hunters to cross federal land where hunting isn't allowed, encourage federal land agencies to help states maintain shooting ranges, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat.

Sessions said he supported the overall bill but objected to spending on conservation programs that he said violated budget rules. Democrats argued that the bill also raised money for those provisions.

The bill also faced some objections from environmental groups over the polar bear imports and exclusions from lead standards.

The lead provision threatens public health and the measures "could set back wildlife conservation efforts," said California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, while acknowledging she supported other provisions in the bill. Boxer was the only Democrat to vote against moving the bill forward Monday.

Ammunition and tackle that contain lead are now unregulated under federal toxic substance laws, and the EPA has so far declined to regulate them. The bill would make it law that the Environmental Protection Agency could not regulate ammunition and tackle, leaving those decisions to states. Environmental groups opposing the exemption say that birds on land and water are killed by lead poisoning after eating the spent ammunition and fishing tackle.

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)