_by Bob Marshall
Sportsmen, Allies Make a Dollars-and-Cents Argument for Conservation

Finally, some hard facts and figures on the reason America should not retreat on conservation and environmental protection during these tough economic times: Cutting those programs and rolling back those regulations would put at risk 9.4 million American jobs, $1.06 trillion in total economic impact, and $107 billion annually generated in tax revenue.

That was the bottom line of a major initiative rolled out Monday at The National Press Club in Washington D.C. by “America’s Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation” (AVCRP), a coalition that includes almost every major sportsmen’s group, environmental organizations and historic preservationists whose programs are threatened with deep budget cuts. The complete list of organizations in AVCRP can be found in the signatories of this letter to Congress.

The centerpiece of the effort is a new study by Southwick and Associates on the economic impact of outdoors recreation and historic preservation commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Sportsmen concerned with the assault being planned on protections for fish and wildlife habitat should pore through the documents to have those facts and figures handy for the budget battles ahead.

Those astounding figures represent all industries that rely on healthy, open and protected public property from hunting and fishing to backpacking and skiing and bird-watching.

For more than a decade, energy industry lobbyists have poured billions into congressional campaigns in efforts to roll back protections for fish and wildlife habitat which can make their operations more expensive and, in some cases, exclude them completely. Their shrill ad campaigns try to convince Americans those protections are the reason the economy is suffering.

Now the AVCRP has provided sportsmen with ammunition to explain that argument is wrong–and, in fact, just the opposite is true.

Noted Warming Skeptic Now a Supporter

Climate change skeptics appear to have lost a major hero recently when noted Cal-Berkeley researcher Dr. Richard Muller said, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, that the results of his latest study have made him a believer. Fish and wildlife authorities have long cited global warming as a major threat, which makes it a major threat to hunters and anglers.