Wildlife needs wild habitat. Americans need energy. And sportsmen overwhelming understand that we need both.
As gas prices creep-up, people are understandably concerned. While this concern warrants further discussion among candidates, well-balanced energy development on our public lands must be central to any discussion – sportsmen expect that. The public access and quality fish and wildlife habitat that public lands provide are of too great for it to go any other way. And sportsmen understand this, perhaps more so than any other public land user.
As illustrated by a recent poll of sportsmen from across the political spectrum, 88% agreed that “prior to the federal government issuing an oil or gas lease to drill on public lands the various resources and uses of the land should be considered including fishing and hunting, protection of wildlife habitat and insuring air and water are kept clean.” Moreover, 84% of those polled “want the federal government to make it a priority to conserve fish and wildlife habitat and manage public lands for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation.”
For years, sportsmen have put their money where their mouth is, working tirelessly to protect their traditional use of public lands. In doing so, hunters and anglers have backed balanced and responsible energy development on public lands – energy development that limits surface occupancy on undeveloped roadless lands, includes renewable energy, and last but certainly not least, accounts for the sportsmen’s voice and needs. This is good policy for wildlife, and thus good policy for sportsmen.
When it comes to responsibly managing and balancing energy development on public lands, there is no real debate amongst sportsmen. We’ll leave that for the politicians.