From: The Honorable Andy Biggs
Sent By:
cesar.ybarra@mail.house.gov

Date: 3/28/2017

Protect Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Access

**THIS IS A LANGUAGE REQUEST**
Members are required to submit the request online.
Deadline to sign on is COB on Tuesday, March 28.

Dear Colleague,

Please join me in signing a letter to the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee requesting inclusion of a provision to allow hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on federal lands in the fiscal year 2018 Interior and
Environment Appropriations bill.

Westerners are continuously impacted by closures of public lands by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In Arizona, a perfectly safe outdoor shooting range managed by the Tucson Rod and Gun Club in the Coronado National
Forest was closed in 2013. The USFS claims this closure was implemented “to enable contractors and Forest personnel to conduct a risk assessment of the area and remove shooting debris.” On December 6, 2016, the USFS announced that the closure will remain in
effect until September 30, 2018, or until rescinded.

In 2013, the BLM banned recreational shooting in the Ironwood Forest National Monument in the name of environmental protection and safety concerns. Local stakeholders submitted comments opposing this closure, but were ultimately overruled.

These federal agencies have repeatedly restricted public access to our federal lands under the guise of safety, resulting in the loss of our sportsmen’s recreational activities. Such restrictions have negative effects on our economy, and our constituents’
rights to hunt, fish, and shoot on federal lands. Enacting this provision will be a good step towards protecting these long-standing American traditions.

The text of the letter is below. Please contact Cesar Ybarra at
Cesar.Ybarra@mail.house.gov
with any questions or to sign on. Instructions will be sent along with the final signed letter for submitting this request.

Sincerely,

 

Andy Biggs

Member of Congress

 

March XX, 2017

 

The Honorable Ken Calvert

Chairman

Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

2007 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Betty McCollum

Ranking Member

Committee on Appropriations

Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

U.S. House of Representatives

1016 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum,

As you begin work on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, we strongly urge you to include a provision to allow hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on federal lands.  Last Congress, the provision was successfully
included in H.R. 5538, The Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations, for fiscal year 2017.

Westerners are continuously impacted by closures of public lands by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In Arizona, a perfectly safe outdoor shooting range managed by the Tucson Rod and Gun Club in the Coronado National
Forest was closed in 2013. The USFS claims this closure was implemented “to enable contractors and Forest personnel to conduct a risk assessment of the area and remove shooting debris.” On December 6, 2016, the announced that the closure will remain in effect
until September 30, 2018, or until rescinded.

In 2013, the BLM banned recreational shooting in the Ironwood Forest National Monument in the name of environmental protection and safety concerns. Local stakeholders protested and submitted comments opposing this closure, but were ultimately overruled.
These federal agencies have repeatedly restricted public access to our federal lands under the guise of safety, resulting in the loss of our sportsmen’s recreational activities. Such restrictions have negative effects on our economy, and our constituents’
rights to hunt, fish, and shoot on federal lands. Enacting this provision will be a good step towards protecting these long-standing American traditions.

The FY 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill contained language which aimed to allow for this provision. Accordingly, we ask that you include language again this fiscal year to protect hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting
on federal lands.

Sec.____. (a) LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS.—None of the funds made available by this or any other Act for any fiscal year may be used to prohibit the use of or access to Federal land (as such term is defined in section 3 of the
Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6502)) for hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting if such use or access—

(1) was not prohibited on such Federal land as of January 1, 2012; and

(2) is conducted in compliance with the resource management plan (as defined in section 101of such Act (16 U.S.C. 6511)) applicable to such Federal land as of January 1, 2012.

(b) TEMPORARY CLOSURES ALLOWED. — Notwithstanding subsection (a), the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture-

        (1) may temporarily close, for a period not to exceed 30 days, Federal land managed by such Secretary to hunting, fishing, or recreational shooting if the Secretary determines that the temporary closure is necessary
to accommodate a special event or for public safety reasons; and

        (2) may extend such a temporary closure for one additional 90-day period, if the Secretary determines the extension is necessary because of extraordinary weather conditions or for public safety reasons.

(c) AUTHORITY OF STATES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the authority, jurisdiction, or responsibility of the several States to manage, control, or regulate fish and resident wildlife under State law
or regulations.

We appreciate your continued support towards access to public lands, America’s sportsmen, and American traditions.

Sincerely,

 

Andy Biggs

Member of Congress

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