Vote Explanation for H.R. 2406 — Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015

On February 25, I voted against the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015. While I support recreational fishing and hunting, I strongly opposed this bill pitting the interests of sportsmen against environmental conservation. We know from experience that this doesn’t need to be the case; indeed, some of President Theodore Roosevelt’s most important achievements were in conservation, yet he was also passionate about hunting. Instead of building on the legacy of multi-use public lands, this bill would broadly prohibit the National Parks Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) from ever using their authorities to in any way limit recreational fishing or hunting.

While I voted against the underlying bill, I did vote for several amendments that could have improved the bill, including an amendment that would designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as a federal wilderness area and exempt this area from drilling for oil and gas. I also voted for another amendment that many Democrats opposed, which would have reinstated the delisting of a certain subspecies of gray wolves that the USFWS designated as no longer in need of protection. We have delegated authority to USFWS to regulate animal populations and just as I oppose Republican efforts to interfere with the EPA, I believe that Democrats should trust the science-based conclusions of USFWS.

Growing up in Massachusetts, recreational fishing is part of our culture, but with 75% of our public lands open to fishing and hunting, I did not see the justification for the broad expansion of powers proposed by this bill.

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