Eye on the Antis – June 2006
Sportsmen try to stop HSUS lawsuit that would outlaw hunting on National Wildlife Refuges.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by anti-hunters that seeks to outlaw hunting on 37 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“The case is totally without merit,” said Rick Story, senior vice president for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, which manages the Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund. “We would have filed our motion to dismiss the suit sooner, but the anti-hunting plaintiffs kept amending it to seek hunting bans on more refuges. It seems they’ve run out of ideas, so it’s time to end this debacle.”
The Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund collaborated with Safari Club International on the motion. In addition, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, Izaak Walton League and the California Waterfowl Association are also defendant interveners.
The case was filed in 2003 in the Washington, D.C. Federal District Court by the Fund for Animals, which has since merged with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The case claimed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should have to file an extensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to show that each method of hunting on each Refuge complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Environmental groups who think our National Forests should be managed for aesthetics — how they look rather than what is best for the habitat and wildlife — have used a similar tactic for years to stymie logging and wildlife cuts on National Forest land. The tactic, to tie up a federal agency in court with lawsuits asking for EISs, makes it impossible for the agencies to do their jobs.
“In simplest terms, Congress in 1966 and again in 1997, expressly recognized the legitimacy of hunting on units of the (refuge system) and directed the (Fish and Wildlife Service) to facilitate and increase these opportunities whenever they are determined to be compatible,” the Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund stated in its motion to dismiss the case.
Federal courts in Vermont and New Jersey have ruled that hunting regulations of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are not governed by NEPA.
“Even if NEPA could be held to apply to recreational hunting on refuge lands, the (service)… continues to carry out more than the functional equivalent of a comprehensive EIS and should not be forced to conduct burdensome, costly and unnecessary procedures simply to demonstrate perfunctory compliance with NEPA,” the motion stated.
“The suit demonstrates the lengths to which the anti-hunting movement will go to end hunting in America,” said Story. “They are nothing if not insidiously creative, and sportsmen must be vigilant to head off such threats.”
The U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance (USSA) has been the leader in protecting sportsmen from animal-rights groups that are working to end hunting and fishing. For information on how you can help, visit their website at <www.ussportsmen.org>.
HSUS Using the U.S. Postal Service to Raise Money
An online company is using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to raise money for HSUS, the nation’s largest anti-hunting organization. Zazzle.com, a website that allows customers to create custom postage stamps and other personalized items, is selling stamps that promote HSUS programs and giving 20 percent of the net sales to HSUS. The organization’s name is prominently displayed on the stamps.
“This promotion results in the duping of the U.S. Postal Service to raise money for an organization that pushes a radical political agenda,” commented USSA President Bud Pidgeon. “Every dollar raised through this promotion is another dollar they have at their disposal to use against conservation practices.”
The USSA is urging sportsmen to contact their federal legislators, the USPS and Zazzle.com to voice their opposition.
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