Keith Curley (703) 284-9428
Brian Zupancic (202) 997-4966
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wind, solar and healthy habitat: We don’t have to choose A third bill recognizes balance between development and natural resources
Washington D.C. -- Congress is recognizing the value that hunting and angling opportunities have to sportsmen and women with a bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA). The effort would balance the burgeoning development of wind and solar energy by putting money toward conserving the pristine fisheries and healthy herds of pronghorn, elk and deer the West is known for.
This legislation is one of three bills in both the House and Senate which demonstrate that both parties understand that we as hunters and anglers don’t have to choose between the need for domestic energy and the need for healthy habitat. We can have both: solar power and that first ripple of a dry fly as it touches the glassy surface of the water - wind turbines and that haunting bugle of an elk on a distant ridge.
“We want our public lands to be great places to fish and hunt,” said Keith Curley, director of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “Certainly there is a need for wind and solar energy. But all energy comes with a price and all too often it is sportsmen and women who pay it. It doesn’t need to be that way and with legislation such as this, it won’t have to be.
”The Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, H.R. 6154, would provide funding to protect and improve habitat and create access for hunters and anglers. It does this by establishing royalties and then using some of those funds to help enhance habitat and protect the places where development should not occur - the places you love to fish and hunt.
Those places are in high demand and important to communities across the country. A report released by the Department of the Interior showed recreational visits to public lands alone generated nearly $48.7 billion in economic activity and supported 403,000 jobs nationwide in 2011. So it goes without saying that maintaining those lands is important.
“We’ve seen what happens when there’s a rush to develop. We’ve seen our hunting and fishing opportunities decline in areas where oil and gas drilling has been poorly executed, and we don’t want to see the same thing happen with wind and solar,” said Brad Powell, western energy director for Trout Unlimited. “We’re already moving into a world where energy comes from wind turbines and solar panels but right now we lack the resources to balance energy development with fish and wildlife conservation. This bill gives us some security that as we move forward, the lands that we as hunters and anglers value will be protected.”
Renewable Energy Bills: Facts and Figures
Three bipartisan bills have been introduced that support a balance between renewable energy and fish and wildlife:
All facilitate responsible development of wind and solar energy on public lands
Broad support: These principles are supported by sportsmen’s groups, counties, conservationists and others.
Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization. It has over 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.