The Fly Fishing Industry is alive and well. It was evident in New Orleans a few weeks ago. There is energy, innovation, and excitement about what lies ahead. However, if we want to keep this industry rocking for the next generations we need to make sure that our politicians hear our voices.
Here is an interesting article from the Alabama Local News. I consider myself to be conservative and I love fly fishing Idaho, where I live and appreciate the pristine wildernesses that are close by, but if we don’t take the proper steps to keep these fisheries/wildernesses pristine then they might not be that way for too long. Also, I’m not sold on ‘Global Warming'(seemed like summer didn’t come until July this year :)), but I am always open to ways to keep the environment clean.
Here is the article: What are your thoughts?
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Sitting in Hall B of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center last week surrounded by members of the $658 million fly-fishing industry he represents, Jim Klug considered the anti-environment campaign in Congress and had this advice for his fellow businessmen and sportsmen:
“They better wake up to what the House is trying to do before it’s too late,” said Klug, chairman of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. “Our industry depends on a clean environment, and if you take that away, you don’t just take away a hobby and pastime, you take away entire industries.
“No one who cares about fishing or these industries can sit on the sidelines any more. Frankly, a lot of us have just been stunned.”
They are stunned by the comprehensive nature of the House attack and by the politicians leading it.
They were surprised by the billions cut from conservation programs because it made no accounting sense; the investment is a win for taxpayers because the industries the programs support return billions more to the treasury.
More frightening was the long-term agenda for the environment spelled out by the GOP majority in the dozens of policy riders attached to some bills. These included ordering federal agencies not to enforce regulations protecting streamside wetlands, waterfowl-nesting habitat, carbon pollution, pesticide application, roadside runoff and mountaintop mining, among others. These will have no effect on the deficit, but are merely million-dollar giveaways to favored industries.
Then there were the loud attacks against global-warming science and environmental regulatory action by the GOP’s leading presidential candidates, attacks filled with outright falsehoods.
This came the same week a peer-reviewed study published by the National Academy of Sciences warned the current rate of warming could result in the loss of more than half of all trout habitat in Western states during the next 70 years.
Polls show most sportsmen identify themselves as conservatives and Republicans. So this anti-environmental march by their party has left many of them stunned and angry, including Klug.
“I’ve always been a Montana Republican, and I never thought I would see the Republican Party doing this kind of stuff,” he said.
“I guess I think of myself as a Teddy Roosevelt Republican, someone who is conservative fiscally, but who cares about protecting the environment, protecting fish and wildlife, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s smart business, too.”
Klug said the attacks that began soon after the new House took office last January were so massive and unexpected, it took a few months for even his industry to understand the seriousness of the threat. But by the end of the recent debt-ceiling debate, when massive cuts were being demanded in conservation while billions in tax credits for oil and gas were being protected, the industry and individual sportsmen were waking up.
“We have to get involved in two challenges, policy and political,” he said.
The policy challenge, he said, is educating congressmen on the financial impact of cutting conservation programs and hindering green regulations on hundreds of businesses across the nation. In addition to famous tackle manufacturers, the AFFTA estimates there are 650 specialty fly shops in the United States, plus thousands of guides and outfitters that will feel the impacts of a declining environment. And if their business drops, so will thousands of other businesses that ride their economic coattails, including hotels, restaurants and travel.
The political challenge, Klug said, is getting those businesses as well as the nation’s 60 million anglers involved.
“During elections, it’s almost a prerequisite where I live for a candidate to have his or her picture taken fishing in a stream, holding up a trout, acting like they love fishing and hunting,” he said. “But we’ve seen now once they get into office, they vote against our interests in a big way.
“Well, we have to let them know we’re watching — we’re watching every day — and there will be consequences if they vote against our interests. They have to know a clean environment is not just the right thing to do, it’s the things we need to stay in business.”
It’s a powerful message, but there are troubling signs the political establishment doesn’t much care.”
While sportsmen’s groups have joined mainline green organizations in lobbying Congress the past few months, the anti-environment riders and program cutbacks continued to flow in the House, some traditional sportsmen’s allies in the Senate have been breaking ranks, and the Obama administration has failed to keep some of the big green promises it made.
Klug admitted it all makes him nervous. He has a feeling the next months and years the industry that provides his living, and the sporting tradition he loves, will be in nothing less than a life-or-death struggle.
“Look, our sport and our industry depend on clean water and a clean environment,” he said. “If some of these things get through, frankly, we won’t be around much longer.
“That’s really the bottom line. That’s what’s at stake here.”