Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, VoteWater.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
1. Support EPA Clean Water Act 404c Protections for Bristol Bay!
In 2020, you joined in the fight to deny the permit for the Pebble Mine. Now it’s time to raise your voice in support of expanded EPA Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay and the largest wild salmon fishery in the world.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated a process under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to prohibit and restrict mine waste discharge in to Bristol Bay waters, which would effectively stop hard rock mining in the Pebble Deposit area. EPA is currently reviewing proposed protections, and accepting public comment until Tuesday, July 5th, 2022.
Until there are durable and legal community-supported protections in place, the Pebble Partnership (or other mining companies) will continue to try to develop Bristol Bay in to an industrial mining district.
Save Bristol Bay has created an easy way for you to contact your members of Congress and the EPA. Let’s help ensure Pebble can’t come back. Add your voice to support Clean Water Act protections for Bristol Bay.
- Alaskan anglers, hunters, local businesses applaud EPA’s release of proposed safeguards for Bristol Bay, on savebristolbay.org
- 20 years of Protecting Bristol Bay and the best Salmon Runs on Earth with Brian Kraft of Alaska Sportsmen’s Lodge, on nwfoutdoors.org
- Public Comments and Hearings on the 2022 Proposed Determination, on epa.gov
2. Florida Gov. DeSantis Vetoes SB 2508
On June 8, Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced that he had vetoed Senate Bill 2508—a proposed piece of legislation that threatened to undo years of Everglades-restoration progress. The bill had been the subject of protests since February, and organizations such as Captains for Clean Water and Everglades Foundation had been rallying opposition wherever they could find it. A huge rally in Tallahassee on February 17 that brought guides from all over the state, some towing their boats right to the capitol.
Although the original bill had been amended twice to remove the most egregious provisions, the version passed and sent to DeSantis’s desk was still not in the best interests in continuing progress on Everglades restoration. The veto was widely cheered by the angling and conservation communities. “Our organization and others worked hard to weaken (the bill), and this veto is the final nail in the coffin,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, executive director of the nonpartisan nonprofit Captains for Clean Water.
- How ‘The People’ Helped Kill SB 2508, on votewater.org
- DeSantis vetoes Lake O water supply bill after environmentalist outcry. ‘We are watching.’ on tcpalm.com
- Governor DeSantis Signs Budget With Significant Everglades Funding, on evergladesfoundation.org
3. House Passes the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
The House of Representatives has passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 2773) in a 231-190 vote, bringing us one step closer to securing a solution that has been championed by the hunting and fishing community since 2016. The bill recently advanced out of committee in the Senate and awaits a floor vote in that chamber.
The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to provide an additional $1.4 billion in dedicated funding per year—$1.3 billion for state agencies and $97.5 million for Tribes—to improve habitat, recover wildlife populations, and restore the infrastructure for both our natural systems and outdoor recreation opportunities.
“House passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a defining victory for wildlife, habitat, outdoor recreation, and our economy, because we know that heading off wildlife threats is more effective—and costs less—than taking emergency action,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “We applaud members of the House for this step today and urge the Senate to take up and pass this bill without delay.”