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Hook and Bullet Set- Bush is listening

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From the LA Times

 

 

January 4, 2004

 

THE NATION

 

Bush Makes Time for 'Hook and Bullet' Set

 

Fishing and hunting groups have the administration's ear and are emerging as a lobbying force for environmental issues.

 

 

 

By Elizabeth Shogren, Times Staff Writer

 

 

WASHINGTON - The National Rifle Assn. was represented at the White House meeting; so were Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Altogether, President Bush spent more than an hour with the leaders of some 20 hunting and fishing groups in the room named for Theodore Roosevelt, the first conservationist president.

 

Top on the visitors' list of concerns at the session in December was a plan by some administration officials to rewrite the 1972 Clean Water Act in a way that could damage millions of acres of wetlands and countless miles of streams - prime habitat for the wildlife that these groups hunt and fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without specifying his position on the issue, Bush assured those in the room that he understood the value of wetlands and would not let his administration do anything that would spoil them, participants in the meeting said.

 

Just four days later, Bush killed the plan to rewrite the Clean Water Act.

 

The unusually lengthy meeting - followed by a major decision in its favor - shows the "hook and bullet" crowd, as the anglers and hunters call themselves, to be a powerful new force on environmental issues in Washington.

 

Traditional environmental groups, which have been hostile to the president from the start, have had a hard time catching the administration's ear. The hunters and anglers are more effective with the Bush administration, some of their leaders said, because they represent millions of Americans, many of whom vote Republican, and because they reject the confrontational strategy of the environmental movement.

 

"President Bush knows full well that most of the sportsmen were part of his political base, and he doesn't want to alienate them," said Jim Martin, a board member of National Wildlife Federation and conservation director for Pure Fishing, the nation's largest tackle company. "I don't think he cares what the environmental community thinks, but he cares what the sportsmen think."

 

Rollin Sparrowe, president of Wildlife Management Institute, also attended the meeting with Bush. "It's more effective to say we want to help this be done right than to bash people for what they're not doing," he said. "We have certainly been listened to."

 

Many traditional environmentalists recognize that the hunting and fishing groups have had the president's attention - and that they have not. "Exhibit A is that they were invited to the White House to meet with the president," said Joan Mulhern, an attorney focusing on water issues for the environmental law firm Earthjustice. "That's not happening to us yet."

 

When Christie Whitman was the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, she understood the "hook and bullet" crowd's clout at the White House. About six months ago, Whitman called Jim Range, chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on issues affecting hunting and fishing, and asked if he would gather representatives of member groups to talk with her about wetlands policy.

 

"It was her analysis that because of the importance the hunting and fishing community has always placed on wetlands, they would be the most influential people on this administration and this president," Range recalled.

 

Whitman, whose goal at the EPA was to protect wetlands and streams, knew that others in the administration were eager to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act. By asking the sportsmen groups to play a role, she was hoping to "help facilitate bringing the other members of the team on board," said a former senior EPA official who spoke on the grounds that he not be named.

 

The conservationists told her that the decision facing the administration on wetlands protection was the most important issue for their community, Range said. At her request, they drafted a letter to the president expressing their "strong opposition" to the proposed policy change.

 

"America's rich hunting and fishing traditions are inextricably tied to the protection of habitat, and as sportsmen and Republican presidents have known for over 100 years, isolated wetlands and small ponds are among the most important habitat," said the letter, which was signed by the leaders of 31 fishing and hunting groups.

 

Whitman gave Bush the letter during a meeting in late June before she left her post.

 

Sportsmen also sent tens of thousands of letters to their representatives in Congress. Last month, more than half of the members of the House sent a letter to Bush urging him not to erode the Clean Water Act.

 

James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said that unlike the traditional environmental groups, the sportsmen worked "constructively" with the White House on the wetlands issue. The White House was already indebted to these groups for the work they had done in securing congressional approval of other administration initiatives, including conservation programs in the farm bill as well as authorization in the healthy forest bill to cut trees and clear underbrush to reduce the risk of wildfires.

 

Connaughton said these groups shared the president's commitment to "personal stewardship."

 

"They work locally and do real work, spending their own time and money on the ground to produce really great conservation outcomes," said Connaughton, who attended the meeting between the president and the groups' leaders. Unlike traditional environmental groups, he said, "they do not dedicate the majority of their time to advertising campaigns and political bombshells."

 

The warm reception conservation groups have received from the Bush administration contrasts with the cold shoulder they got from the Clinton administration, said Robert Model, president of the Boone and Crockett Club, which was founded by Roosevelt in 1887. Like Bush, these groups believe in managed use of natural resources.

 

"It goes back to a philosophical difference," said Model, who also attended the White House meeting. "Our community believes in multiple use and responsible sustained use of our natural resources. The other side is more protectionist. It's use versus no use."

 

The close relationship between the "hook and bullet" crowd and the White House was threatened after a draft bill developed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Justice Department to rewrite of the Clean Water Act was leaked to the Los Angeles Times last month, representatives of some of the sportsmen groups said.

 

Editorials and news articles criticizing the draft bill appeared throughout the outdoor press.

 

"I haven't seen the sportsmen weigh in on any environmental issue this strong in many years," said Martin of the National Wildlife Federation. "The Clean Water Act is a foundation of conservation in this country, so this was an extraordinarily mobilizing issue with the sportsmen community."

 

Now that it has found its political voice, the sportsmen's community is focusing on another issue on which its interests conflict with White House policy: drilling for oil on public lands that are prime habitat for big game and grouse.

 

And Martin believes that with a little more education, anglers may become a powerful force for quick action by the administration to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. Forty-three states now warn anglers to limit or refrain from eating fish they catch because of mercury contamination.

 

 

Does anyone have more info on this meeting? I found the link on the Pew Trust Web Site.

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First, I'll warn you that I'm not too together on my politics, but...

What does NOT protecting the enviornment do for the good of the sporting people?

Thank you in advance for explaining,

CD

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First, I'll warn you that I'm not too together on my politics, but...

What does NOT protecting the enviornment do for the good of the sporting people?

Thank you in advance for explaining,

CD

 

CD, I don't know. The article doesn't really say much about anything. But after I read the bite on the Pew Site, I did a google search (hook and bullet set) and every environmental group had a reference to this article. Just to read the times, I had to register- can't wait for the spam!

 

That's why I asked if anyone had more info- the tree huggers seem alarmed.

 

Walt

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It can help fisherman by keeping the giant wealthy corporations from dumping their crap into our waters, as Bush's wealthy friends in the fossil fuel industry do with MTBE. Dubya helps them dodge prosecution & fines and nobody takes responsibility for the negative impact and effects on the water. Georgy does this because these giant companies provide him with huge monetary campaign contributions. They scratch his back, he scratches theirs. Theyve done a good job in New England of polluting the water with MTBE, and Dubya is doing what he can to make sure they are let off the hook.

 

I'm no Liberal, but I cannot understand how George Bush can help these corporations in the way he does, then go fishing on his fathers boat in Maine.

 

Not to mention all his tax cuts for his millionaire buddy's. In his eyes, the wealthy dont have to pay up, everyone else does. Too bad he's a failed business man himself.

 

I thoroughly regret voting for him in 2000. I wish there were more Independent realists in politics.

 

Politicians sell themselves to big conglomerates. There is no heart, integrity, and HONOR anymore. Those days have seemed to have faded away and been forgotten about. I think its time for Revolution. Time to take it all back.

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It can help fisherman by keeping the giant wealthy corporations from dumping their crap into our waters, as Bush's wealthy friends in the fossil fuel industry do with MTBE. Dubya helps them dodge prosecution & fines and nobody takes responsibility for the negative impact and effects on the water. Georgy does this because these giant companies provide him with huge monetary campaign contributions. They scratch his back, he scratches theirs. Theyve done a good job in New England of polluting the water with MTBE, and Dubya is doing what he can to make sure they are let off the hook.

 

 

Sorry, try as I might I can't just gloss over that reply. 1st, it was the Clinton era EPA that REQUIRED the refiners to add MTBE to gasoline. The MTBE has gotten into the gorund via Leaking tanks at service stations and gas spills by delivery trucks, most of which have nothing to do with the refiners. Your logic is skin to blaming the paint company because someone spilled paint on your driveway. Finally, the Bush EPA is currently working on rules which remove the mandated use of MTBE and subsititue other oxidizing agents to try and adress the problem.

 

Walt,

The power of the hook and bullet crowd upsets the tree huggers because they see the truth, that their cause is ultimately about restricting all use of wildlife and wild places, which is inimical to the interests of hunters and fishermen.

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Mike,

Ever think that there might be two sides to a story and that they could both be right... To an extent?

Bush has ordered the secretary of the interior to be sure that conservation will not stand in the way of making money. I could be wrong, but I think this is the bell tolling for all of us!

CD

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"James Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said that unlike the traditional environmental groups, the sportsmen worked "constructively" with the White House on the wetlands issue. The White House was already indebted to these groups for the work they had done in securing congressional approval of other administration initiatives, including conservation programs in the farm bill as well as authorization in the healthy forest bill to cut trees and clear underbrush to reduce the risk of wildfires.

 

Connaughton said these groups shared the president's commitment to "personal stewardship."

 

"They work locally and do real work, spending their own time and money on the ground to produce really great conservation outcomes," said Connaughton, who attended the meeting between the president and the groups' leaders. Unlike traditional environmental groups, he said, "they do not dedicate the majority of their time to advertising campaigns and political bombshells."

 

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Ishmael,

Did you know that to clear the underbrush, it will be necessary to clear cut large stands of timber?

I hope you have enjoyed your salmon, steelhead and trout fishing. It's going to change for the worse frown.gif

CD

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MakoMike....you hit the nail on the head. And why was MTBE added? Because the environmentalists wanted it added to reduce air pollution. Could this be another instance of wanting to change things without doing the proper research first?

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