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Senate Budget Amendment Would Support Public Lands, BHA Applauds Measure

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Proposal by Martin Heinrich responds to sportsmen’s requests, would prohibit the sale of 

federal public lands as a deficit-reduction tactic

 
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Proposal by Martin Heinrich responds to sportsmen’s requests, would prohibit the sale of 

federal public lands as a deficit-reduction tactic

 
MISSOULA, Mont. – A proposed amendment to the draft Senate budget for Fiscal Year 2016 would prohibit the sale of federal public lands to reduce the deficit and is drawing both bipartisan support within the Senate and strong praise from sportsmen, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers announced today.
Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico filed SA. 571, a budget  amendment intended to quash ongoing efforts by some interests to sell federal public lands and waters as a budget-tightening measure. The measure is expected to receive a vote tomorrow.
This week, a coalition of Western sportsmen traveled to Washington, D.C., to urge their elected leaders to reject proposals to sell America’s public lands heritage. SA. 571 directly responds to the sportsmen’s requests.
“American hunters and anglers have consistently stood up in support of U.S. public lands since Theodore Roosevelt set them aside for all Americans more than a century ago,” said BHA Executive Director Land Tawney. “Today, Congress has responded. We sincerely thank Senator Heinrich, a fellow sportsman who understands the importance of public lands, for his commonsense amendment to the Senate budget, and we urge his Senate colleagues to unite in advancing this measure – in the name of healthy fish and wildlife and our nation’s time-honored outdoor traditions.”
“Selling off America’s treasured lands to the highest bidder would result in a proliferation of locked gates and no-trespassing signs in places that have been open to the public and used for generations,” said Heinrich. “This would devastate outdoor traditions like hunting, camping and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture and a thriving outdoor recreation economy.
“These lands are public, which means we each have a voice in their management,” Heinrich continued. “America’s forests, wildlife refuges and conservation lands are part of the fabric of our democracy. Let’s keep them that way.”
In recent months, thousands of hunters and anglers have rallied at state capitols across the West in opposition of state-level activities promoting the sale or transfer of federal public lands to states. The “divestiture” of federal public lands and waters could result in a range of negative impacts, including increased industrial activity, diminished public access by sportsmen and others, and a threat to the substantial economic benefits annually generated by hunters and anglers.
As the congressional budget debate continues, BHA and other sportsmen’s groups will continue to work to advance the robust funding of conservation programs important to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. America’s outdoor economy supports approximately 6 million jobs and generates nearly $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue annually, with U.S. public lands playing a central role in these benefits.
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