Letters: Proposed bill only benefits poachers
March 15, 2017
A pro-poacher bill
Earlier this year Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced H.R. 622 (Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act), also known as the "Poacher Protection Act." This bill would abolish the law enforcement branches of the U.S. Forest Service and BLM and steer block grants to local sheriff's offices to take up the slack.
The bill would leave millions of acres of public lands vulnerable to abuse and lawless behavior, taxing state and local authorities and fundamentally compromising American's safety. The association of federal law enforcement said the bill will eliminate about 1,000 rangers, investigators and law enforcement personnel who patrol America's backcountry alongside local sheriff's deputies and state game wardens.
"I'm in no way belittling local law enforcement," says Jay Webster, retired U.S. Forest Service law enforcement and investigations patrol captain. "However, the expertise in what we do as opposed to what they do is different. We respond to archeological crimes and catastrophic wildfires. No way would a sheriff's office … be able to respond with resources to those kind of incidents."
And as many county sheriffs have pointed out, their officers can't enforce federal laws. This would, essentially, be a gift to poachers and drug cartels, providing even more opportunities for them to abuse public lands and diminish public safety. At its core, H.R. 622 caters to local anti-government groups, such as the armed extremists that took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon last year.
"As sportsmen, we look at this bill as anti-fishing, anti-hunting and anti-American," says Randy Newberg, host of "Fresh Tracks" on the Sportsman Channel. "It's one more way to diminish or eliminate the public lands concept." Our law enforcement officers are on the front lines of conservation and already do more with less. Let's give them the resources they need to do their jobs.
Recommended Stories For You
Chairman at Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Trending In: Opinion
- Letter to the Editor: SDN not-so fair and balanced
- Reagan: The sad state of my California (Column)
- Ask Eartha: The good, the bad and the sustainable beers (column)
- Writers on the Range: Border wildlife don’t need the National Guard (column)
- Wyatt: Celebrate Earth Day by protecting our water quality (column)
- As conditions ravage Imperial Challenge, Breckenridge’s Howdyshell wins, Campbell family shines
- High Country Crime: Former teacher suspected of burglarizing bike shop
- Addiction cycled Tyler Little in and out of the Summit County Jail, but he walked out with his GED
- Copper Mountain Resort pond skim fiasco could lead to felony charges for man who tried to jump crowd (with video)
- Breckenridge Ski Resort closes 2017-18 season with Plunge (with video)