Benishek Sportsmen Bill Included in Package to be Negotiated with Senate
Legislation authored by Dr. Dan Benishek to protect sportsmen rights was passed today by the House of Representatives as part of an amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
"Hunting and fishing are more than just recreational activities in Northern Michigan, they are major contributors to our economy," said Dr. Benishek. "It is vital that we protect access to our federal lands for these activities."
The language introduced by Dr. Benishek, H.R. 528, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, would create an "open until closed" policy for sportsmen's use of federal land and would block threats from interest groups that seek to limit hunting, fishing and shooting on federal properties. The proposed legislation would limit these threats to sportsmen access by directing federal land managers at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to facilitate use and access for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting activities on federal lands. The outdoor recreation economy contributes nearly $20 billion annually to Michigan's economy.
"I have spent countless hours outdoors enjoying the abundant natural resources that we are lucky enough to have here in Northern Michigan," added life-long UP resident Dr. Benishek. "Today's vote brings us closer to protecting the right to access federal lands for our sportsmen and women. Ensuring these opportunities are available to future generations is a legacy I will be proud to leave behind. "
The House and Senate will establish a Conference Committee to work out the differences between the Senate passed S. 2012, and the House's amended version of S. 2012. Should an agreement be reached by the two legislative bodies, both bodies will vote on the conference report. Upon passage of the conference report, it would then be sent to the president's desk to be signed into law.