Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 7, 2017

Contact: Brett Hartl (202) 817-8121

House Republicans Launch New Attack on Wolves, Clean Water

'Sportsmen's' Bill Would Lift Restrictions on Silencers, Transporting Weapons Across State Lines

WASHINGTON— Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today would strip federal protections from gray wolves, allow bear- and wolf-killing in dens in Alaska national parks and end Environmental Protection Agency oversight of lead fishing tackle.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) introduced the so-called “Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act.” The bill would prematurely strip Endangered Species Act protections from wolves in the Great Lakes region. It would also roll back Obama-era regulations protecting denning bears and wolves on national park lands in Alaska and eliminate the EPA's ability to protect human health and fresh water from toxic lead tackle.

In addition, the bill would scrap the existing national registry for firearm silencers, allow firearms to be freely transported across state lines, and limit the federal government's authority to classify rifle ammunition as “armor piercing.”

“This legislation doesn't help hunters and sportsmen. It's simply making dreams come true for Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle Association,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Hunters and fishermen don't want to slaughter wolves, kill bears while they sleep or poison the waters where they fish. This is truly a despicable piece of legislation.”

The House Natural Resources Committee will showcase the legislation in a hearing June 14. Similar legislation has been introduced in previous years in the House. New provisions include rolling back the Obama administration's regulations prohibiting aerial gunning of predators in Alaska's national parks and preserves, along with the ammunition and silencer measures.

“Do hunters really need silencers and armor-piercing bullets?” Hartl said. “Maybe we'll learn from Congressman Duncan at next week's hearing about these life-or-death situations when hunters have no choice but to assassinate elk that have learned to wear bulletproof vests.”

The legislation continues the Republican tactic of offsetting harmful provisions by including legislative provisions with bipartisan support. The bill would reauthorize the North American Wetlands Conservation Act through 2020. However, such legislative reauthorization is unnecessary, as Congress has continued to fund this program every year, even though its authorization lapsed in 2003. The legislation also contains noncontroversial reporting language on the Equal Access to Justice Act, which passed the House unanimously in the last Congress.

“No one should be fooled by this travesty of a bill,” Hartl said. “This is a payout to the NRA, nothing more, and should be strongly opposed.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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