By Chris Wood
Last week, I published an opinion piece printed in the New York Times asking President Trump to stand up for clean water, and veto Congress’ bill to overturn restrictions on mountaintop removal mining. Unfortunately, that plea failed, as the President signed the misguided law today. Trout Unlimited, our members, and all hunters and anglers need to make our voices heard.
Loosening restrictions on cutting off the tops of mountains, removing the coal, and dumping the waste into streams, makes clear that elected leaders are not listening to the voices of sportsmen and women. Together, we can change that.
First, demand that the Administration and Congress support the Clean Water Rule. Tell your member of Congress that clean water isn’t a political issue, and that you want the protections of the Clean Water Act to apply to small seasonal streams that are the sources of our drinking water and help to grow big trout.
Second, tell Congress to keep public lands in public hands. The network of forests, parks, refuges, and other public lands are our birthright. They harbor the cleanest water, the best hunting and fishing, and the best fish and wildlife habitat. Public lands help to define America. A few short-sighted members of Congress would sell or transfer our heritage, and we simply cannot allow that to happen.
Third, convince President Trump to protect Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay harbors the world’s largest runs of wild salmon and some of the biggest rainbow trout on the planet. Building a massive open pit gold mine in the headwaters of the Bay is wrong-headed and selfish—to the extreme. The salmon fishery supports $1.5 billion in economic output and 14,000 jobs annually just by leaving it alone. We must work with Alaska native villagers, commercial fishermen, and residents of the State to protect Bristol Bay.
Finally, demand that Congress and the Administration support conservation. Every year, more than $107 billion in revenue and 9.4 million domestic jobs are supported by the outdoor recreation, natural resource conservation, and historic preservation economies. Starving our partners at the Forest Service, BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA, states, and others of funding translates to degraded fish and wildlife habitat and decreased hunting and angling opportunity.
Stand up and support Trout Unlimited. Make your voice heard today.
Thanks for all that you do to support the lands and waters that sustain us all.
Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. He works from TU’s Arlington, Va., headquarters.