Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Gulf Coast Sportsmen Urge Congress to Fully Commit to Gulf Coast Restoration

Gulf Coast Sportsmen Urge Congress to Fully Commit to Gulf Coast Restoration

Ducks Unlimited

Key sportsmen's groups in the Gulf Coast region called on Congress today to maintain provisions for funding land conservation and Gulf Coast restoration in their negotiations on a final transportation authorization bill. In a teleconference, representatives of the Berkley Conservation Institute (PureFishing), Ducks Unlimited and the Louisiana Wildlife Federation outlined the critical importance of ensuring that the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the RESTORE Act provision included in the Senate's version of the bill are retained during conference negotiations.

"The Gulf Coast region, in particular the wetlands, barrier islands and bayous around the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, is a true sportsmen's paradise," said Jim Martin, conservation director for the Berkley Conservation Institute. "But what few realize is that many of the best public hunting and fishing opportunities in the great national wildlife refuges in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida were protected by funds generated from the offshore oil and gas development in the Gulf through the LWCF."

"The Gulf Coast ecosystem has been greatly impacted by oil and gas development that has been used by the entire nation for decades," commented Paul Schmidt, chief conservation officer for Ducks Unlimited. "The LWCF is the logical compensation for those impacts and, working in tandem with the RESTORE Act, we might have the means to significantly advance protection and restoration of the Gulf region's unique and precious habitats. Within the transportation negotiations, Congress could finally make the commitment to conservation that this region's waterfowl, wildlife, hunters and anglers deserve."

A House and Senate conference committee is currently debating two versions of a transportation bill in the hope of finding agreement on one final package before the current authorization expires on June 30. The Senate's version of the bill (S. 1813) ensures the funds authorized for LWCF are spent for their intended purpose in each of the next two years and permanently commits 1.5 percent of LWCF funds to projects that provide public access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation. S. 1813 also includes the RESTORE Act that directs 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill toward Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Delta restoration. The LWCF/RESTORE provision was passed as an amendment on the Senate floor by an overwhelming 76-22 bipartisan vote.

"What is important to note is that passing the RESTORE Act and including funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund will ensure that conservation and restoration extend from the coastline and inland to the areas less impacted by the oil spill but still precious to sportsmen," noted Chris Macaluso, coastal outreach coordinator with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

Created by Congress in the 1960s, LWCF uses no taxpayer dollars and is based on the simple concept that revenues raised from the depletion of one publicly owned resource—offshore oil and gas—should be used to conserve other resources for future generations. The fund is authorized to receive up to $900 million from offshore oil and gas lease revenues every year. However, Congress rarely appropriates the full amount, and often has diverted LWCF funds for other purposes. The LWCF provision within the transportation bill seeks to reverse decades of underfunding.

Outside the Gulf Region, LWCF has protected vital wildlife habitats and helped provide access for hunting and fishing at hundreds of national wildlife refuges, national forests and national recreation areas, as well as state parks and wildlife management areas across the country. The transportation bill's funding for LWCF will also help protect areas around the country that are important to sportsmen and women, from the Dakota Grasslands to the John Day Headwaters in the Malheur National Forest of Oregon.

--------

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Visit EcoWatch’s GULF OIL SPILL page for more related news on this topic.

 

With restaurants and supermarkets becoming less viable options during the pandemic, there has been a growth in demand and supply of local food. Baker County Tourism Travel Baker County / Flickr

By Robin Scher

Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A technician inspects a bitcoin mining operation at Bitfarms in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on March 19, 2018. LARS HAGBERG / AFP via Getty Images

As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.

Read More Show Less
OR-93 traveled hundreds of miles from Oregon to California. Austin Smith Jr. / Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs / California Department of Fish and Wildlife

An Oregon-born wolf named OR-93 has sparked conservation hopes with a historic journey into California.

Read More Show Less
A plume of exhaust extends from the Mitchell Power Station, a coal-fired power plant built along the Monongahela River, 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, on Sept. 24, 2013 in New Eagle, Pennsylvania. The plant, owned by FirstEnergy, was retired the following month. Jeff Swensen / Getty Images

By David Drake and Jeffrey York

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The Big Idea

People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.

Read More Show Less