June 28, 2007 "In The Crosshairs"

In The Crosshairs Newsletter

June 28, 2007

SCI Lion
Busy Week for Sportsmen in D.C.

We expected many challenges with a new Congress in Washington and it looks like we were right. There has been a flurry of activity this week on at least three issues we’ve mentioned in numerous editions of In the Crosshairs:

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1. Polar Bear Protection Act

Thanks to strong lobbying by SCI, NRA, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and others, a proposed amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill was defeated by a vote of 188-242. This amendment, sponsored by Rep. Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. LoBiondo (R-NJ), would have prevented the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from processing permit applications for the importation of polar bears into the United States. This would effectively stop American hunters from going to Canada and would deal a serious blow to Canadian efforts to conserve the bear. It would also destroy the source of funding (from the permit fees) for polar bear research in the U.S. and Russia. The effort over the last few days on both sides of the issue has been intense, including newspaper ads, letters, lobbying and calls to action to numerous legislators. SCI and the other groups worked hard to counter the misinformation campaign and emotional, non-scientific arguments put forth by anti-hunting legislators and groups. SCI also put together a website to dispel the myths discussed in the anti-hunting rhetoric and to focus on just the facts. Please visit that site at www.polarbearfacts.org. We've won a major battle, but not the war. We must now try to keep the Senate from adopting a similar amendment into their version of the Interior Appropriations Bill. Work will continue in the Senate to make sure that this bad idea never sees the light of day.

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2. Tongass Amendment

An amendment to the FY08 Interior Appropriations bill passed in the House this week. If the amendment is enacted into law, it will not allow any funds for construction of roads used to harvest timber by private entities or individuals in the Tongass National Forest in SE Alaska. The Forest Service does not distinguish roads on the basis of who uses them. To meet the letter of the amendment, this will now require the government to re-assess all the roads in the area and use by all users would have to be curtailed until the best assessment could be made of which roads could continue to be maintained and which roads could not be reconstructed due to timber haul. In addition, all proposed and anticipated access for subsistence, commercial (including outfitter guides) and governmental needs would have to be assessed to identify future road management opportunities. The vote passed 283 - 145.

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3. Santa Rosa Animals in Jeopardy

An amendment was passed in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill last week which would order the Park Service to proceed with a program to eradicate non-native elk and deer from Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands National Park off California ’s coast. This would reverse a provision placed in last year’s Defense Authorization bill, by SCI friend Rep. Duncan Hunter, which allowed the animals to remain. It is SCI’s hope that this amendment and a similar one in the House Interior Appropriations bill will be ruled out of order on the House and Senate floor for legislating on an appropriations bill. We will keep you posted.

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South African Paperwork…Continued

In a follow up to the Crosshairs last week about getting PHASA to assist with obtaining your SAP 520, we would like to inform those of you who may not know already about other options that are available. This is an easy process that you can do by yourself. Here is the link to the South African Police Service website that walks you through the entire process. Like PHASA there are also other private groups that offer similar assistance. Companies such as www.riflepermits.com provide a similar service. We don’t know how long these services take in terms of getting you through the airport but we wanted to let you know they and many more like them were out there.

SCI Lion
USFWS Removes Bald Eagle from Endangered Species List

In a long expected move supported by SCI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remove the bald eagle in the lower-48 states (the bald eagle has never been listed in Alaska ) from the threatened species list under the ESA. The delisting will be effective in about 30 days. The bald eagle has recovered from about 400 breeding pairs in the 1960s, to about 10,000 today. The bald eagle will remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. As previously reported in Crosshairs, the FWS has issued guidelines about complying with this law, which can be found here.

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Direct Flights Between U.S. and Africa in the Future?

SCI member Bob Frantz reports that on June 8, the Miami Airport Authority held a conference to promote direct flights between the U.S. and Africa. Conferees included representatives from the African Union, air ministers from Ethiopia and Kenya, and representatives from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, FAA and TSA. With deliveries anticipated as early as 2008 for the long range Boeing 787 Dreamliner, both Kenya and Ethiopia are anticipating direct flights to the U.S. and have welcomed reciprocal flights by U.S. carriers. With a range of 10,000 miles, the Boeing 787 could make the flight nonstop to Nairobi in approximately 11 hours, eliminating the 36 hour trips via Europe or South Africa. Both big game hunters and eco-tourists will soon be able to take advantage of this convenient travel to Africa ’s well established Safari and tourist locations previously enjoyed mostly by Europeans.