|3:58 PM EST||
Doc Hastings, R-WA 4th
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, the primary purpose of this underlying legislation is the premise that Federal lands should be open for hunting and fishing recreation rather than being closed. I believe this should be the policy of all of our multiple use Federal lands. The default option should be open regardless of whether your interests are mountain biking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, logging, building a solar energy facility, mining, wind power, or developing oil and gas. Our Nation's multiple use lands
were designed to be used for the benefit of the Nation. This open-before-closed concept is the foundation of what we are trying to do through this legislation.
We are trying to raise the bar of bureaucracy that the bureaucracy has placed between hunters and the outdoors.
Reckless disregard of our Nation's hunting and fishing traditions means too often our Federal lands are closed off arbitrarily, and not just without public input, but against public sentiment.
Now the gentleman is proposing that we give the Secretary another new tool to close lands, without scientific decisionmaking, without accounting for their actions. The gentleman proposes that we simply grant the Secretary the sole authority to dictate that we close off any and all of our Nation's lands from hunting and fishing based simply on the Secretary's mere opinion that hunting and fishing are a threat to our Nation's land because of climate change.
Hunting and fishing are traditions and foundations that this Nation was built upon. They are not burdens to our national lands. They are one of the many purposes of our national lands.
Just yesterday, Mr. Chairman, before the Rules Committee, one of my Democrat colleagues was commenting that he had a BB gun at age 7 and a .22 rifle at age 12. He talked about how, as a young man, he learned to respect guns and traditions. Yet that same Member is concerned about what children are learning today--the lack of respect for guns and the traditions of the outdoors.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that this is one of the many benefits and reasons that we are here today, to help restore the opportunity for hunting and fishing traditions to take root on our Federal lands, to remind our Federal land managers that the exercise of these traditions are not a burden on our lands but one of the foundations of our lands.
Finally, let me say this. Regardless of one's views on our climate, this amendment is not about climate change. It is about granting the Secretary a blank check to ban hunting and fishing. Nothing in the bill changes the Secretary's ability to manage our lands to ensure responsible management. The bill does require lands to be opened, however, before closed; but when closing lands, the Secretary must act in a measured fashion to ensure that our hunting and fishing traditions are protected and
I urge my colleagues to reject what I consider to be an antihunting and -fishing amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.