May 27, 2008 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

May 27, 2008

SCI Lion
SCI Files Lawsuit to Reverse Ban on Polar Bear Imports

On May 23, 2008, Safari Club International (SCI) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ban on the import of polar bear trophies from Canada. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claims the import ban was required when the Service listed the polar bear as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). SCI’s lawsuit asks the Court to confirm the right under current law of U.S. hunters to import polar bear trophies into the United States under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Sustainable sport-hunting of polar bears and subsequent importation by U.S. citizens advances polar bear conservation and supports remote native communities in the Canadian arctic. SCI’s lawsuit explains that the MMPA specifically provides for the import of sport-hunted polar bears from approved populations. The “threatened” listing does not change this authorization. In fact, the ESA itself allows for the continued importation of sport-hunted polar bears, even if they are listed as threatened. Read the full release at Stay tuned for more details about the lawsuit.

SCI Lion
President Vetoes Wrong Farm Bill – Congress Hurries to Correct Error

The 2008 Farm Bill was vetoed on Wednesday, May 21, by President Bush, and the U.S. House of Representatives quickly took action to overturn his veto. The House successfully voted 316-108 to override the vetoed Farm Bill. However late into the evening it was realized that the bill President Bush had vetoed was missing a 34 page section of legislation. The error invalidated both the President’s veto and the House override vote. The cause for the missing 34 pages of legislation was a simple printing mistake. Members of the conference committee who produced the 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report will have to once again meet to pass the correct Farm Bill Conference Report. Once the conference report is delivered to the House and Senate, new votes must be taken and the full 2008 Farm Bill Conference Report will be delivered to the President for his approval.

Unfortunately, this clerical error has stalled the vitally important piece of legislation for hunters. Programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program and the Grasslands Reserve Program have been vital for the resurgence of so many game and non-game species. Passage of the 2008 Farm Bill will ensure that adequate funding for these essential programs continues for another five years.

SCI Lion
Proposed Change to Water Law Riles Landowners

“A proposal backed by environmentalists to change one word in the Clean Water Act and subject tens of millions more acres of land to new federal oversight has ranchers and farmers fuming. ‘It's a huge grab for more federal intervention in our lives, and we don't need that,’ says Montana cattle rancher Randy Smith says. Smith sometimes diverts water on his 20,000-acre spread for the sake of his animals or crops. He worries that doing so under a new law will mean lots of paperwork, lawyers and site visits rather than a few scrapes of a backhoe. ‘We're perfectly capable of doing what's right for the land,’ says Smith, who has 1,000 head of cattle in Glen. ‘We know that if we don't take care of it, we won't take care of our animals.’ Jim Murphy, a lawyer for the National Wildlife Federation, says the law must be revised to protect not only the water on the lands at issue but the waters they flow into. He says the waters and wetlands now outside the scope of the law ‘provide incredible functions to the health of all watersheds’ and are valuable as aquatic habitats, sources of drinking water and flood prevention.” (Source: USA Today) To read the full article, click here.

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SCI Honors 2008 State Legislator of the Year, Senator Joe McPherson

Safari Club International has named Louisiana Senator Joe McPherson, Jr. their 2008 State Legislator of the Year. He has championed sportsmen’s issues in Louisiana’s State Senate for more than 23 years. Senator McPherson was awarded the Governor’s Award for Conservation by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation in 2005 and named the Legislative Conservationist of the Year three times. His work on the Natural Resources Committee in Louisiana was instrumental in passing significant legislation for the sportsmen and women of Louisiana. His dedicated work for Louisiana’s hunters helped pass a state constitutional right to hunt and fish. “Senator McPherson has personified the dedication to the hunting heritage of Louisiana and America for his entire career,” said SCI President Dennis Anderson. “I am proud that SCI has recognized such a deserving individual for this prestigious award.”

SCI Lion
Anti-Hunting Groups Abandon Florida Black Bear Appeal

SCI helped secure a victory in March 2008 against anti-hunting groups who sought to use the courts to force a listing of the Florida black bear under the ESA. Such a listing would have ended the hunting of the bear in southern Georgia and prevented Florida from re-establishing a hunt. In a case in which SCI intervened, a federal district court judge in Washington D.C. determined that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was fully justified in its decision not to list the bear. After losing in the district court, the groups filed an appeal in the D.C. Circuit. But two weeks later, they voluntarily dismissed their appeal, ending this case. SCI thanks the SCI members who helped us participate in this case: Bill Monts de Oca, Randal Morris, Robin Thigpen, and Lee Davenport.

SCI Lion
Youth Big Game Hunting License Bill Passes Assembly, Moves to Senate

“Legislation that would allow fourteen and fifteen year-olds to hunt big game in New York State is positioned to pass in the State Assembly. The New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus stands united and is actively engaged in advancing the legislation despite strong protests from anti-hunting organizations…The bill, A11033, is sponsored by Caucus member Assemblywoman Del Monte; co-sponsors include both co-chairs of the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and many of the caucus members. It was approved by the Assembly and now moves to the Senate for approval as S8228, sponsored by co-chair Senator Dale Volker. If the bill passes and is signed by the Governor, the law would take effect this year.” (Source: National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses) To read the full release, click here.