Environmentalists Sue Over Trump Rule that Expanded Hunting and Fishing

Environmentalists Sue Over Trump Rule that Expanded Hunting and Fishing
Grizzly bears are among the species the lawsuit says will be threatened. (Photo: Public Domain)

An environmentalist group launched a lawsuit this week against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for what they say was a failure to properly consider the risk of a Trump-era rule that opened 2.3 million acres of public land to hunting and fishing.

“We’re going to court to ensure that our nation’s wildlife refuges actually provide refuge to endangered wildlife,” said Camila Cossío, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Fish and Wildlife Service is shrugging off the many risks that sport hunting and fishing pose to endangered animals, particularly from lead ammunition and tackle.”

Billed as the largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities in USFWS history, the 2020 rule opened 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries.

“The Trump Administration and Secretary Bernhardt have made access to public lands for hunting and fishing and other outdoor recreation a priority beginning day one. Hunting and fishing are a part of our American history, and we continue to ensure we provide opportunities for these activities which epitomize our American heritage,” Service Director Aurelia Skipwith said at the time.

SEE ALSO: Utah Wildlife Board Pulls Trail Cam Ban Proposal One Day After Public Comment Period Begins

The Center for Biological Diversity, which has a long history of opposing hunting and fishing, claims that the rule will endanger threatened and protected species, including grizzly bears, jaguars, ocelots, and whooping cranes.

These animals, they say, are harmed by toxic lead ammunition and tackle, increased traffic and noise, and “other risks associated with the massive expansion of sport hunting and fishing.”

The Center claims that rare birds will be harmed by ingesting lead shot and tackle used by hunters. They specifically mention whooping cranes at the Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas, Patoka National Wildlife Refuge in Indiana and Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota.

Scavengers, they continue, will be harmed by ingesting lead bullets in the carcasses of animals, and grizzly bears will be at risk of “mistaken identity” and self-defense shootings.

SEE ALSO: Ballot Initiatives in Oregon and Florida Would Ban Hunting, Fishing, Game Preserves

“Opening national refuges to increased hunting means that rare and beautiful animals like grizzly bears, ocelots and whooping cranes now face increased risk of death, ingestion of toxic lead shot and other harms,” said Cossío. “With wildlife already confronted by so many threats to their survival, they rely on refuges to be safe havens. We’re hopeful the court will set things right.”

The Center is suing the USFWS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for failing to properly analyze the effects of its new rule on endangered animals. Under the ESA, federal agencies are not permitted to take any action that may “jeopardize the continued existence of” any endangered or threatened species. The Center argues that opening new hunting opportunities does exactly that.

Nontoxic ammunition is already required on national wildlife refuges for waterfowl and upland bird hunting. Lead hunting bullets have also been banned at certain wildlife refuges throughout the country.

The USFWS has yet to issue a statement in response.

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  • Munnster December 28, 2021, 2:39 pm

    Don’t call them “environmentalists”., they are not! Most of the eco-terrorist groups are nothing more than law firms posing as charities. They are anti-American, anti-liberty organizations and should be treated accordingly! They are an enemy of a free people.

  • Robert Bagnell December 28, 2021, 1:00 am

    Two thoughts. First these environmentalists don’t give a tinkers damn about America or endangered species they are nothing more than far left democrats trying to hurt and divide the country. Second I’d like to know what Court are they ‘Judge Shopping’ at I’ll bet probably the 9th Circus (Ops I mean Circuit) or another liberal circuit full of activist claiming to be judges. Any bet they won’t bring this crap to the 5th Circuit

  • Not You December 27, 2021, 8:15 pm

    If they are really so concerned about Cranes and the even more endangered Condors they would be fighting against Windmills.
    There is NO Lead Shot fired over waters or wetlands anymore. Period.
    If it were possible to find those errant bullets lodged in trees, dirt and such they would still amount to nothing and bother only insects.
    Logic and Critical Thinking is becoming a lost art but then look at our schools.

  • James December 27, 2021, 2:17 pm

    Here they go again. False claims, emotions, and outright lies by hunting banning, animal worshipping cults.

    These animal worshipping hunting banning cults first popped up back in the 1970’s. Back then they tried to ban deer hunting. Articles back then talked about how violent these groups were, knocking out car windshield, slicing tires, and spray painting the sides of cars and pickups parked in national forest parking lots. Finally, states passed laws against hunter harassment.

    Over the years these cults have expanded to include trapping and fishing.

    Some of the groups want to ban camping and hiking, saying it disturbes animals.

    And this nonsense about wildlife eating lead bullets like they are candy is rediculus.

    Commiefornia banned hunting with lead bullets because the animal worshipping cults were saying condors were eating them from carcass and died. . When a study was done, it was found out that the condors were flocking to garbage dumps and landfills and eating whatever was thrown out including material contaminated with lead paint. But still they blamed the hunters for condors dying.

    Now to stop hunting, these hunting banning cults say hunters are shooting all kinds of ” endangered species”. Again what nonsense. For one thing, it’s against the law along with hefty fines.

    There are stories of hunting banning cults having their members actually going out themselves and shooting”endangered species” just to blame legal hunters and to ban hunting.

    There was a article years ago about a trapping banning cult that claimed they “found” traps by a elementary school and if a child stepped on it it would snap their foot completely off!

    In some major cities, certain Asian groups go out and collect species to eat or to sell to restaurants. For example, bear paws and bear gall bladder are worth a lot of money and are considered to have ” magic powers”.

    These hunting banning cults and gun banning groups are run and funded by Micheal Bloomberg, George Soros, the Chinese government, the U.N., Russia, North Korea and Mexico.

    Remember that a country cannot be taken over by foreign country if it’s citizens own firearms.

    These hunting banning cults are joining up with the gun banning groups to ban all hunting in America. Their idea is if all hunting is banned, then all hunting firearms should be banned. No hunting, no firearms. See how these groups work?

    Support and protect your right to hunt, trap , and go fishing.
    Join pro gun groups and pro hunting, and pro trapping groups.

    Don’t let these mentally unstable, crazy ass animal worshipping cults to ban all hunting, trapping, fishing and firearms in America.

    • Not You December 27, 2021, 8:19 pm

      We never had to fear foreign takeover. The destruction of America will be from within ……. if we let it.

  • CGA December 27, 2021, 2:01 pm

    Where is their proof that opening these areas will endanger the “threatened” species they claim will be hurt?? I doubt they have any and their opinions are just their wish to take away peoples’ rights. They need to go away permanently.

  • RIC CARTER December 27, 2021, 11:20 am

    Someone may wish to inform them the sportsmen of this country bought and paid for those refuges.

  • D.J. December 27, 2021, 11:04 am

    Hunting and fishing were taught to me as a young
    man back in the 1960’s , by my Father and my
    Grandfathers .
    I , too taught my Son , some forty years later .
    It is , to some , part of the American way . It also
    can keep our youngsters out of the trouble that
    seems to be so prevalent today.
    The thought of preventing future generations from
    engaging in this tradition , is beyond unacceptable , in
    my humble opinion .
    If one chooses not to participate in the activity , that
    choice is theirs . But they have no right to block my
    family and I from that same activity .
    Some folks need to learn to “ live and let live “ , and
    stop behaving as neo-fascists , focusing on their own
    damned business , not that of others .

  • Clint W. December 7, 2021, 8:38 am

    The last group of Americans who cared about animals were the Native Americans. They did not pave over millions of acres of land sectioning their food source habitat, they did not build massive cities and suburbs spreading out over the country side. But progress did, and it took habitat with it. So more creatures are occupying less space and to keep the herds manageable, and healthy, hunting is required to maintain the balance of remaining habitat versus creature population. I wonder if the Center for Biodiversity knows of the paid professional hunters in their blue towns used to thin deer herds because of the traffic problems they cause, along with the well to dos complaining about their expensive flowers getting eaten all necessitated due to restrictive hunting laws in their areas?The lead shot and bullet claim was proved false years ago, it falls in the category of those rats that get cancer and die from saccharin, when they are fed a diet of saccharin, animals have to ingest a lot of lead, like daily meals full to suffer the fate claimed by these extremists. There are many historical fact based studies that plainly disprove all the Centers claims, but they will have their newly created and manipulated modern era’s fact creation to support their claims, which takes a discerning, critical thinking, politically neutral judge to sort through. Those judges are few and far between.

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