Care About Conservation? Then Speak Up.

"We all support reducing the deficit, but what (congressmen) don't seem to understand is that the net effect of these cuts will actually add to that deficit," he said. "The nation spends about $5 billion a year on conservation, but gets back more than $14 billion in taxes from people who make their livings in the industries supported by those programs.

Northern PintailI have a suggestion for all the sportsmen's conservation groups that hold those annual membership/fund-raising banquets:

If you really want to protect the future of your traditions - your hunting and fishing - get your members to do something much harder than writing a check. Get them to contact their members of Congress - especially if they're Republicans - and deliver a simple message: If you vote for the cuts in fish, wildlife and environmental regulations that were contained in HR-1, I'm voting for someone else next time. (You can read the list of those cuts at www.nola.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2011/02/specific_provisions_and_cuts_i.html).

That will be a much more effective statement of concern about fish and wildlife than all the money you drop at those eat-drink-bid affairs. That letter will do much more for ducks, fish and turkeys than those shiny decals you stick to your pickup trucks.

HR-1 didn't make it past the Senate. Instead Congress sent a three-week temporary funding bill to the president Friday that didn't include those draconian cuts and policy straight-jackets the House GOP has in the bill.

But lobbyists working for sportsmen's groups in Washington said those specific cuts are still on the House GOP agenda, and probably won't be withdrawn unless those members see them as politically dangerous.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited.

"This really is potentially devastating - not just to waterfowl, but to fish and wildlife of all kinds," he said. "We've been working Congress, but many of the champions we used to have in the House (GOP) are gone, and I don't see we're making much headway there.

"So we really need sportsmen to stand up and be heard. There's so much at stake here."

Continue reading at nola.com

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