Sportsmen's bill stalls in Senate onspending concerns
WASHINGTON — A wide-ranging bill to give hunters and fishermen more access to public lands stalled in the Senate on Monday because Republicans said it spends too much money.
Republicans supported opening lands for outdoorsmen and many other provisions in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but GOP senators blocked the legislation on principle Monday evening in a mostly party-line procedural vote after Senate Budget Committee's top Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, objected to spending on conservation programs included in the bill.
The sportsmen's bill would increase land access and allow hunters to bring home as trophies 41 polar bears killed in Canada before the government started protecting polar bears as a threatened species.
The legislation would exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, allow bow hunters to cross federal land where hunting isn't allowed, encourage federal land agencies to help states maintain shooting ranges, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat.
Sessions said he supported the overall bill, but objected to spending on conservation programs that he said violated budget rules.
Democrats argued that the bill raised money for those provisions.
The bill faced some objections from environmental groups over the polar bear imports and exclusions from lead standards.
The lead provision threatens public health and the measures “could set back wildlife conservation efforts,” said California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, while acknowledging she supported other provisions in the bill. Boxer was the only Democrat to vote against moving the bill forward Monday.
Ammunition and tackle that contain lead are now unregulated under federal toxic substance laws, and the EPA has so far declined to regulate them. The bill would make it law that the Environmental Protection Agency could not regulate ammunition and tackle, leaving those decisions to states. Environmental groups opposing the exemption say that birds on land and water are killed by lead poisoning after eating the spent ammunition and fishing tackle.
The polar bear provision would allow the hunters — two from Tester's home state of Montana — who killed polar bears in Canada just before a 2008 ban on polar bear trophy imports took effect — to bring the bears' bodies across the border. The hunters involved were not able to bring the trophies home before the Fish and Wildlife Service listed them as a threatened species.
Some animal welfare groups, including of The Humane Society of the United States, say that allowing the polar bears bodies across the border could set a bad precedent and embolden other hunters to try and circumvent threatened or endangered species laws.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Senate on track to approve Keystone XL by week’s end
- Thieves go for the gold in San Francisco
- New York legislative Speaker Silver to give up position because of federal corruption charges
- Slain Ga. couple known for charity projects
- Pentagon puts ‘fork’ in news about ex-captive Bergdahl
- Wisconsin’s Walker takes first step toward possible run in 2016
- Drone owner still unnamed, works for intelligence agency
- Dems delay Iran sanctions proposal
- Democrats, Republicans openly snipe about congressional Benghazi investigation
- Boehner acknowledges early House GOP ‘stumbles’
- House sales tax proposal criticized as attack on states’ rights