Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Environmentalists' Surprising Ally to Save National Monuments: Hunters

Popular
www.youtube.com

Environmentalists who oppose Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke's plans to shrink our national monuments might have an unlikely but politically powerful ally on their side—hunters.

Many hunters, anglers and other sportsmen are speaking out against the former Montana congressman over his controversial recommendation to adjust the boundaries of a "handful" of the 27 national monuments under review by the Trump administration. They worry that Zinke's move could potentially reduce land access for sport hunting and kill thousands of jobs.


"[Zinke] said he'd fight to protect public lands," John Sullivan, chairman of the Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, says in a recent television ad. "But since his Washington promotion, he's put our public lands at risk."

Although Zinke promised to keep the sites under public ownership, groups on the political left and right fear that the secretary wants to allow drilling, mining and clearcutting on the sites—a move in line with the Trump administration's overall favoritism towards the fossil fuel industry.

Similarly, in a recent opinion piece for the Flathead Beacon, Chase Giacomo, an avid sportsman and Kalispell, Montana resident, said Zinke's intention to reduce national monuments in size and open them up for business would "undermine essential fish and wildlife habitats."

Giacomo continued:

"Public land ownership is a salient conservation tool for the sustainability of hunting and angling. Moreover, public lands provide equal access for all outdoor recreationists. Many hunters depend on harvesting an animal in order to provide a natural and affordable way to feed their family. Public land ownership creates a cooperative for hunters and anglers to partner in efforts to conserve our nation's resources.

Public land ownership also safeguards the preservation of our environment. It protects nature from falling into private entities that so often exploit the land. The preservation of habitats and countless species is strengthened by public land protections. Furthermore, the countless preservation efforts to study climate change can be furthered by the use of public lands for scientific research."

NPR noted that President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., is a big-game hunter who wants to preserve access to wild areas. Trump Jr. also happens to be linked with several sportsmen groups that lobbied for Zinke to become interior secretary, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a national hunting advocacy group, wants all the current national monuments to remain intact, Outside's Wes Siler reported.

"That hunters are so fired up in opposition to GOP policy is a big deal," Siler pointed out. "Hailing from rural areas, people who are passionate about hunting tend to vote Republican. No other traditionally conservative group is currently waging such a public campaign against current GOP policy."

There's a good reason that the Zinke might actually listen to the influential group. As Siler argued, in February, former congressmen Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) plans to sell off 3.3 million acres of federal land in 10 different states was met with such fierce outcry from hunting groups that Chaffetz ended up withdrawing the bill.

Activists gather in John Marshall Park for the Global Climate Strike protests on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum / Getty Images

By Alexandra Villarreal

As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A portion of roadway is flooded in Corpus Christi, Texas on Sept. 20, 2020 due to storm surge from Tropical Storm Beta in the Gulf of Mexico. Matt Pierce / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Colette Pichon Battle, attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy. Colette Pichon Battle

By Karen L. Smith-Janssen

Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.

Read More Show Less
A palm tree plantation in Malaysia. Yann Arthus-Bertrand / Getty Images Plus

Between 2000 and 2013, Earth lost an area of undisturbed ecosystems roughly the size of Mexico.

Read More Show Less
A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch