Vice President of Conservation
11/21/2003 -- Washington, D.C. -- Trout Unlimited applauded New England Senators for their votes against limiting debate (cloture) which allowed the Senate to continue to debate and work on the Energy Bill. All voting New England Senators opposed the cloture motion.
The votes of the Republican New England Senators, Chafee (RI), Sununu (NH), Gregg (NH), Collins (ME) and Snowe (ME) were especially noteworthy because of the intense pressure they faced from their leadership to get the sweeping bill passed.
The Energy Bill being considered by the Senate contains provisions harmful to fish and wildlife conservation efforts across the nation. Specifically, Trout Unlimited opposes provisions in the “Oil and Gas” and “Hydropower” sections because of their adverse effects on trout and salmon habitat, and to the interests of fish and wildlife conservationists.
The bill contains oil and gas leasing provisions that could diminish conservation measures on public lands for water resources, wildlife and fish habitat, and scenic landscapes. Also, the bill establishes new procedures for the relicensing of hydropower dams which gives dam owners preferential treatment over all other river stakeholders.
The ill-conceived effects of these provisions result in elevating energy development on public lands to a dominant use over fish and wildlife, and disenfranchising river stakeholders – fisheries conservationists, Tribes and others – from key decisions.
Energy development does not have to damage fish and wildlife and their habitat on public land, nor does it need to disenfranchise fisheries conservationists from key hydropower decision-making processes. Public lands and wild rivers are home to some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities in the nation.
TU has worked successfully with hydropower operators and private landowners on energy development and land management projects from California to Maine to strike a good balance between developing resources and conserving them. The bill considered by the Senate today undermines balanced resource conservation.
We urge the Senate to take a time in the coming days to fix or eliminate the harmful provisions in the bill. And we urge the New England Senators to continue to stand firm against the bill until it is fixed.
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.