Local sportsmen speak in D.C. on National Energy Bill | PostIndependent.com

Local sportsmen speak in D.C. on National Energy Bill

Bob Elderkin of Silt and Keith Goddard of Rifle, concerned over potential impacts the National Energy Bill could have on local fish and wildlife habitat, spoke Wednesday to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The two men voiced concerns over the oil and gas sections of the bill that threaten regional public lands, particularly on the Roan Plateau.

The bill is currently being considered by the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and could decrease protections for wildlife habitat throughout the West.

“Certainly, our nation needs reliable energy supplies,” said Elderkin, who’s retired after 18 years with the Bureau of Land Management. “But if energy production comes at the expense of fish and wildlife, we all lose.

“Places like the Roan Plateau, with some of the purest remaining populations of Colorado River cutthroat (trout), should not be viewed as expendable in the name of gas and oil,” he told Press Club members.

The two men were part of a group of hunters and anglers representing four Rocky Mountain states on behalf of Trout Unlimited.

“Currently there are 47 million hunters and anglers in this country,” said Goddard, who owns and operates Magnum Outfitters in Rifle. “That’s a sizable community, and we believe members of Congress who will be debating the energy bill would be well-served to hear that the folks who fish and hunt these lands want to ensure that if they’re developed, it’s done responsibly.”

The hunters and anglers ” who hailed from Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico ” were joined at the press conference Wednesday morning by staff from Trout Unlimited.

They also visited key congressional leaders’ offices to request that the most harmful provisions of the bill, which would eliminate or weaken protections for wildlife and fish on millions of acres on Western public lands, be changed or removed.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518


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