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House Republicans Push Legislation Attacking Wolves, Polar Bears, Clean Water

House Holding Hearing Tuesday on NRA-driven Sportsmen’s Bill That Weakens Gun, Ammunition Restrictions

WASHINGTON— The House Natural Resources Committee, led by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), will hold a hearing Tuesday on legislation that would prematurely strip federal protections from gray wolves, promote polar bear trophy hunting and allow the slaughter of bears and wolves in dens in Alaska national parks.

The so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act” bill would also eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect human health and fresh water from toxic lead fishing tackle.

In addition, the bill would scrap the existing national registry for firearm silencers, allow unrestricted transport of weapons across state lines, and limit the federal government’s authority to classify rifle ammunition as “armor piercing.”

“It’s a cynical joke to say this bill helps hunters and sportsmen,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s nothing sportsmanlike about killing sleeping wolves and bears or poisoning clean waters. This bill is nothing more than a grab bag of everything the National Rifle Association ever dreamed of.”

Similar legislation has been introduced in previous years in the House. The newer provisions include allowing aerial gunning of predators in Alaska’s national parks, importing of trophy-hunted polar bears (despite the fact that two-thirds of the population is expected to be wiped out by 2050), and dangerous ammunition and silencers.

This is Bishop’s second attempt to hold a hearing on the bill. The first hearing was scheduled in June but was postponed because it fell on the same morning as the Alexandria shooting that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in the hospital for weeks.

“Apparently it takes only a couple of months after members of Congress get shot for Rob Bishop to justify holding a hearing on the use of armor piercing bullets in our national parks,” said Hartl. “Since when do hunters need armor piercing bullets? This bill is extremely dangerous for both people and wildlife.”