If you Google “David Vitter and sportsmen,” you get almost 400,000 hits, most of them touting the Louisiana GOP senator’s support for hunters and anglers. He seldom fails to mention he represents “The Sportsman’s Paradise”—one of Louisiana’s official mottos.
In fact, Vitter proudly boasts on his Web site of his vote last spring for passage of the bipartisan North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act. “Louisiana, the sportsman’s paradise, is home to many of our nation’s cherished wetlands, and this bill helps protect and restore wetlands across the country,” he says.
So it shocked some—but not all—sportsmen to read Vitter’s recent tirade in the online publication The Hill, in which he confessed outrage at the Environmental Protection Agency for:
- Blocking the Pebble Mine permit to threatens the priceless the Bristol Bay fisheries.
- Cracking down on coal mining abuse in the Appalachians that devastated fish and wildlife habitat.
- Working with Maryland to try to stop pollution of Chesapeake Bay.
- And—horror of horrors—issuing a proposed new definition of wetlands that could restore protections to trout streams and other critical fish and wildlife habitat that were removed by the Supreme Court.
Dozens of national sportsmen’s groups and industries reliant on hunting and fishing have been supporting those same actions by the EPA that Vitter publicly abhors.
Sportsmen’s groups that endorse restoration of wetlands protections include Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Wildlife Federation, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, The Berkley Conservation Institute, The International Federation of Fly Fishers, The Snook and Gamefish Foundation, The North American Grouse Partnership, the American Fisheries Society and the Izaak Walton League of America.
This is hardly the collection of “Washington D.C. and New York-based environmental lobbyists” that Vitter claims the EPA has been “colluding” with to strip innocent Americans of their private property rights!
In fact, in each case the EPA is performing its duty in protecting—or restoring protection—to the public trust.
The [Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership](http://www.trcp.org/about/partners/ – .VCSHiytdXgI)—which includes almost every national sportsman’s group—had this to say about Vitter’s essay:
“Louisiana sits at the mouth of the Mississippi River at the tail end of 30 other states’ pollution. That’s why Louisianans are looking at a dead zone in the Gulf that is the size of Connecticut. If Senator Vitter wants to make sure the state remains the Sportsman’s Paradise, he must acknowledge that the Clean Water Act is the greatest tool we have to protect clean water – and he needs to facilitate ongoing efforts to clarify that the Act also protects wetlands and headwater streams that feed into the Mississippi.”
But Vitter argues in his essay that his view of how the EPA should act should become permanent:
“…we need a new U.S. Senate majority to really push back on this overreach. This should be a central rallying cry of this fall’s election. We must stop Obama’s EPA from continuing to limit our freedoms and block important job projects through abusive, arbitrary action that goes well beyond its proper authority.”
According to most national hunting and fishing groups, that’s not very sporting of him.