Nov. 13, 2014
Zach Cockrum, Trout Unlimited Senior Manager of Advocacy, 703-284-9426, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katy Dunlap, Trout Unlimited Eastern Water Project Director, 607-703-0256, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pennsylvania Sportsmen to EPA: Protect Streams and Wetlands
Draining wetlands and polluting streams imperils America’s hunting and fishing economy.
Harrisburg, Pa. Pennsylvanias hunters and anglers want the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to better protect Americas streams and wetlands.
Thats the message in a letter signed by 40 hunting, fishing and sporting groups in Pennsylvania. In total, more than 200 groups from across the country signed on to the letter, which was spearheaded by Trout Unlimited and the National Wildlife Federation.
When wetlands are drained and streams are polluted, it imperils Americas hunting and fishing economy which accounts for over $200 billion in economic activity each year and 1.5 million jobs, reads the letter. Americas 47 million sportsmen and women rely on clean water for hunting, angling, and other outdoor recreation.
In Pennsylvania, it is unclear if more than half of the state’s streams are protected under the Clean Water Act, the result of two controversial Supreme Court decisions and two Bush Administration interpretations of the court rulings. Since that time the rate of wetlands destruction has gone up 140 percent nationwide while water quality in streams and rivers has fallen.
In April, the EPA released a proposal clarifying which streams and wetlands are protected by the Clean Water Act. The proposal is open for public comment until November 14.
Hunters, anglers and outdoors enthusiasts believe that the rule could have tangible benefits in Pennsylvania. Nearly two in three people in Pennsylvania get their drinking water from streams that would be protected by this rule.
“EPA’s rule clarifying protections for 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s native trout habitat is very timely,” said Brian Wagner, president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. “These areas are where Pennsylvania’s anglers and hunters go to spend time and money enjoying sporting experiences and these same areas today face unprecedented new development, in the form of shale gas drilling and major pipeline construction.
The rule could have also have significant economic benefits for the outdoor recreation economy in Pennsylvania. For example, recreational fishing generates nearly 10,000 jobs and nearly $900 million in total economic activity in Pennsylvania.
“As sportsmen, we know the importance of clean water to healthy fish, game and wildlife,” said Scot Rishell, President of Blue Ridge Sportsmens Club in Harrisburg. “We support the reasonable efforts of the proposed rule to clarify and restore the protections in the areas we spend so much of our time and hard earned dollars hunting and fishing.