NCWF condemns attack on state wildlife, natural resource conservation programs
The North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF), one of the state’s oldest and leading conservation organizations dedicated to wildlife and resource-based outdoor recreation, expressed serious concerns over a bill that would handcuff natural resource agencies.
NCWF executive director Tim Gestwicki stated, “S781 takes an axe to rulemaking by the state environmental agencies, the wildlife commission, and the marine fisheries commission. The result: North Carolina will slide in keeping sediment out of trout streams; polluted lakes and estuaries won’t get cleaned up as fast, or ever; fish will remain contaminated with mercury, threatening sportsmen’s families. Basic management of fish and wildlife will slip as agencies unexpectedly find they have to seek new legislative approval for decisions that have always been properly left to wildlife managers.”
Gestwicki added, "science-based resource management is the foundation that has made North Carolina amongst the envy of the rest of the country. Science is the cornerstone for biologists, scientists and resource professionals; however, it seems that scientific principles and processes for natural resource management are being dismissed as nuisances rather than the fabric which binds our environment and economy together.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people flock into our state both to live and to visit. Over a billion dollars per year are spent on hunting, fishing, boating, camping and other resource-based recreation activities from Murphy to Manteo and everywhere in between," says Dick Hamilton, director of the wildlife federation’s Camouflage Coalition. “This bill is very damaging and would have serious negative ramifications for sportsmen and resource management now and for many years to come. State agencies need authority and flexibility to address issues such as spread of wildlife disease where the federal government may not adequately address such potential problems.”
"Sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts have worked hard for years to establish strong goals for management of fish and wildlife and protection of habitat. Rules are how these goals get translated into on-the-ground results," says NCWF President, John Crutchfield. “Good environmental quality has attracted people to this state in the last decade. North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in terms of population. We need adequate rules and effective, efficient processes in place to protect wildlife and habitat and to maintain environmental quality with the continued influx of people and growth in the state.”
"This micro-management of fish, wildlife and habitat resources by the General Assembly is the wrong direction for North Carolina,” said Gestwicki. “‘That dog won’t hunt’ is the message that needs to be heard."