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Entries in Obama administration (22)

Sunday
Dec222013

Anglers Win Access Battle in Australia

Good news for anglers everywhere: Our brothers and sisters in Australia won a huge victory for public access.

And there’s an important message here for U.S. fishermen: Get involved in the political process. Aussie anglers wouldn’t have won if they had just gone fishing instead of fighting back.

Here’s an excerpt from the report in Fishing World, and please note the mention of Pew:

“We are pleased the Coalition Government has listened to Australia’s recreational fishers and are conducting a scientific review of the proposal, which will give a sensible balance for Australia’s unique marine environment,” said Allan Hansard of the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation.

“It was clear that the decisions to ‘lock’ recreational fishers out of vast areas of our seas by the previous government was not scientifically based and was done to meet a political agenda.”

The Government’s marine parks announcement marks an historic win by the recreational fishing sector against powerful international environment groups, including the US-based Pew organisation which spent millions of dollars in its failed attempt to ban fishing across huge swathes of Australian territorial waters.

Meanwhile, here’s things are not going so well in the United States. President Obama’s National Ocean Council is moving ahead with plants to “zone” uses of our oceans, telling us where we can and cannot fish. And in Maine, officials are considering a proposal by anti-fishing advocates who want to ban plastic baits.

Down in Georgia, a fishing editor said this:

Fishing is a way of life for millions of Americans. It’s a pastime all can enjoy, as well as a multi-billion-dollar industry through the sale of boats and motors, fishing tackle and even live bait.

The state of Maine, though, seems hell-bent on becoming the nation’s first anti-fishing state, according to a news release from Keep America Fishing.

Not long ago, the state legislature voted to impose restrictions and downright bans on the use of lead-headed jigs and lead sinkers, claiming the loon population was being adversely affected by ingesting that tackle while diving for bait fish.

Earlier this year, Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife called for a study to determine the effects of soft plastic lures on fish. Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department is using online research, ice angling reports and litter assessments to determine if there are adverse effects on fish . . . 

Legislation introduced during early 2013 legislative sessions called for the outright ban of soft plastic lures.

The state study also includes the impact of hooks! What a waste of time! If soft baits are banned, what’s next?

I’m glad I live where I live!

Wednesday
Nov272013

EPA Proposes Cut in Ethanol Use by Refiners

It appears that we finally might have won a battle against ethanol, the alternative fuel that has ruined thousands of outboard engines, is less efficient than fossil-fuel gasoline, and has forced up food prices nationally.

Money News reports, “Earlier this month, the Obama administration also signaled that renewable fuels were losing political favor as the Environmental Protection Agency proposed cutting the amount of corn-based ethanol (that) oil refiners must blend into U.S. fuel supplies.”

Forcing use of ethanol in gasoline was a boon for corn farmers and those who built plants to process the fuel, but the strategy was a typical big-government screwup in every other way. For example, pure fossil-fuel gasoline yields 500 percent more energy than what is required to produce it. By contrast, ethanol provides but 30 percent, according to one study.

That inefficiency is reflected in that fact that one gallon of ethanol requires 1,700 gallons of water and results in 10 gallons of sewage-like effluent.

Even former Vice President Al Gore, the Big Daddy of the environmental movement, has admitted that his support for ethanol was a mistake. During a green energy conference in Athens, Greece, Gore said that energy conversion ratios for ethanol “are at best very small.”

He added, “One of the reasons I made that mistake (supporting ethanol and ethanol subsidies) is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

Monday
Oct282013

Louisiana's Vitter Calls Out NOAA for Failure in Managing Fisheries

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is pushing back against NOAA’s failure to implement its own allocation policies and to provide leadership and direction to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. He says that he will “hold” the nominee to lead that agency until it agrees to address its responsibilities.

Even though the recreational fishery for red snapper is worth far more to the economy than the commercial, sports anglers are allocated just 49 percent of the catch, based on data from the 1980s. Back then, bycatch of juvenile red snapper by shrimp trawlers caused the recreational catch to decline by 87 percent.

“It shouldn’t have to come to this,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association.  “After all, NOAA is an agency charged with managing our public marine resources in a manner to achieve the greatest benefits to the nation and there is no way to manage any fishery to achieve that goal when the managing agency insists on adhering to an allocation that was set using catch history from the 1980s.  

“We really appreciate Senator Vitter stepping in to make NOAA Fisheries do its job.”

“Given all the turbulence surrounding Gulf red snapper over the past several years, it is past time to look at the fundamental underpinnings of how we manage this fishery,” added Mike Nussman, president and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association.  “Ignoring the problem is irresponsible.”

The Secretary of Commerce is legally obligated, along with the Fishery Management Councils, to establish procedures to ensure a fair and equitable allocation of fish harvest for Gulf red snapper – and every other federally managed fishery.  The Obama Administration three years ago committed to review guidelines for implementing fair and equitable allocations.  While some preliminary work has been done to develop options for moving forward with allocation reviews, so far, neither NOAA nor any Council has produced such guidelines. 

“Federal managers simply must address allocation,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation.  “Our system of federal fisheries management is broken to a point where a United States Senator is compelled to force a federal agency to do a fundamental part of its job.  We support Sen. Vitter’s continued efforts to make government act responsibly.”

Read more here.

Thursday
Oct102013

ASA Calls Shutdown of Lands and Waters 'Ludicrous'

A statement from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is below. Right now, I’m compiling information from around the country about how anglers specifically and the public in general are being hurt by the government shutdown.

Check back here later to learn more.

By the way, the ASA stays away from blaming the Obama Administration directly for much of this. I’m not.

A government shutdown is one thing. But maliciously inflicting pain on the American people in a petulant snit is another. For much of what is happening now, the shutdown is just an excuse by this dictatorial administration because it believes that its opponents will be blamed for the harm that it is inflicting.

The feds are spending far more in money and manpower to keep people away from many areas than they normally do in terms of monitoring and maintenance for those areas. In fact, many of these places usually aren’t even staffed.

And, yes, I am going to go there. National Park Service rangers and other federal para-military staffers are acting like Gestapo. During the Nazi regime, lots of “good” Germans went along to get along.

That’s what is happening here, as federal employees do what they’re told instead of what’s right.

From ASA:

Millions of anglers are now locked out of federal lands and waters and thousands of small businesses are suffering because Congress and the Administration can’t agree on the nation’s finances.

According to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), federal agencies across the nation are warning anglers that they are not permitted to use public waters managed by the federal government during the federal shutdown. A statement from one federal land management agency says, “…facilities and lands are now closed to the public and public use activities have been suspended nationwide.”

“This is ludicrous,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “We understand that public facilities that require staffing, such as buildings and federally-operated marinas and hatcheries, are not open and that federal employees are not permitted to operate these facilities. But let’s face it, most of the federal areas used by anglers are undeveloped and the recreational user typically visits them many times without seeing a federal employee of any type.”

Robertson further said, “We know that many of the complaints being voiced to the Department of Interior are from angry anglers who have planned trips, spent money on plane tickets, guides, lodging and new equipment who now can’t make their trip.”

As the stalemate between the Administration and Congress continues, the damage to the recreation industry mounts. Federally-controlled waters have a sportfishing community support system that is comprised of lodging facilities, restaurants, guide services and bait and tackle shops, just to name a few of the services used by anglers. Sportfishing in the United States on federal lands supports more than 100,000 jobs, providing $984 million in federal taxes to the federal government and contributing $13.8 billion to the nation’s economy each year. 

“The public knows where staff is needed to manage facilities and developed areas and where they are not,” continued Robertson.

“More baffling are statements from federal agencies saying that law enforcement staff will be on hand to enforce the closure of these waters during this federal shutdown. For example, law enforcement staff in areas like Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park will be on hand to stop the public from entering park waters during the federal shutdown. Attempting to ban the public from areas of the ocean due to budgetary restrictions – while paying law enforcement officers to enforce the ban – defies logic and can only be viewed as intentionally burdensome. Where will the closures stop? Will the federal government close down the oceans' entire exclusive economic zone too?”

Aside from the edict from the federal government that all federally owned waters are closed to anglers and all outdoor enthusiasts, the impacts to conservation are considerable. Every day that passes represents approximately $2 million that doesn’t get spent on fisheries conservation and federal fish hatcheries that don’t meet their schedules for fish production. Not to mention the inability of thousands of federal conservation employees to do their job and an even greater number of volunteer fishery conservation efforts that fall by the wayside. The cost to fishery conservation is incalculable.

“Many segments of the economy are being damaged by the failure to come to agreement over the nation’s finances and the recreation community is not exempt,” concluded Robertson. “The American Sportfishing Association encourages anglers to go to Keep America Fishing and send a letter to their Members of Congress saying it is time to stop the shutdown and get the nation back on its financial track so resource conservation can move forward and the public can once again enjoy its public trust lands.”

Tuesday
Oct082013

Guides Afraid to Challenge Administration on Fishing Closures

Entry to Yellowstone National Park. Sadly, the inscription no longer is true for Yellowstone or other national parks, as well as vast areas of ocean.

Most South Florida guides will not defy the Obama Administration’s malicious and petulant closure of more than 1,100 square miles of ocean at Everglades National Park (ENP) and Biscayne National Park during the government shutdown.

“Really no guides or commercial interests will challenge this and enter the parks, in my opinion, as we all have to have a permit from the (National) Park Service to operate,” one charter captain told Activist Angler.

And if caught “trespassing” in public waters, they could lose those permits. They also could be fined up to $5,000 and sentenced to up to 6 months in jail for each incident.

“Bait shops, boat ramps, hotels, and restaurants are feeling this hit very hard,” he added. “It’s tough out here as it is without this.”

Another guide said that he received an e-mail from the superintendent of Everglades National Park on Sept. 27, detailing the closures that commenced Oct. 1. 

“Within the e-mail, I was advised the parks would be closed to both commercial and recreational activity . . .

“That means that, in addition to the professional guides, the average citizen cannot get in his boat and go into the park.”

This captain also said, “While I am unable to substantiate it, I have heard that more manpower and money is being spent enforcing the closure than when the park is normally open.

“Additionally, I have heard a report that the Coast Guard is also actively enforcing the park closure. I find it hard to visualize the Coast Guard boats patrolling the shallow waters of the ENP.”

So, while Congress, the President, and all of the furloughed government employees are being paid for the incompetent job that they do, guides and others who make their living in businesses related to recreational fishing are being prevented from working.

Another written communication from the ENP superintendent said, “We are allowing vessels to transit park waters from point to point if it is the only route available. This is especially true in our Gulf Coast waters near Everglades City.

“But even those that are transiting cannot anchor up, fish, or recreate.

“Avoiding navigating through park waters is highly recommended, especially if alternate routes are available.

"There are fewer valid reasons to claim transiting through our southern waters in Florida Bay. Vessels should instead use the intracoastal waterway.”

In Montana, meanwhile:

“They closed something down that they never monitored all year long,” said Rick Law at the Bighorn Trout Shop.

He said the nearby Park Service contact station, where anglers pay a fee to launch their boats at the federal sites, had been empty all summer and he never saw a Park Service employee picking up trash or even enforcing the parking rules.

“I could see it if they had people up here working, monitoring and picking up trash, but they’re not,” Law said.

Others, like longtime fishing guide Richard Montella, questioned whether the agency even had the right to close the sites, since they aren’t part of the nearby federally managed Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

“The worst of it is, we’re paying for this service,” he said. “To put it really bluntly, these people have nothing to do here.”

Some anglers defied the closure and launched anyway, hoping park rangers would look the other way. Others were launching at state-owned sites downstream.

But there was no access to the nearby Bighorn Reservoir as concrete barricades blocked access to the federally run boat launch at Ok-A-Beh Marina. Even an interpretive site inside a log fence along the road to the marina had been wrapped in yellow plastic caution tape.

And in North Carolina:

Manager Keith Matthews disputes the Park Service’s explanation that safety was behind ordering concessionaires to close.

“They have no liability. The liability falls on us. We have to carry the insurance to cover anybody that goes on the pier,” Matthews said. “They have no government employees that work here.”

“We’re using our own employees, doing the same thing we’ve always done. Why all of a sudden because they don’t have people to cover the pier we have to close it?” Matthews said. “That’s what I don’t understand.”

Matthews said he had up to 50 vehicles parked in his lot Tuesday morning because visitors couldn’t park in any of the Park Service lots to access the beaches.

“We’ve been two years without being open at all this time of year because of hurricanes,” Matthews said. “Now we’re battling Hurricane Park Service.”

A Blue Ridge Inn attempted to defy the Obama police state:

At a spot 5,000 feet above sea level and 20 miles from the nearest town, an innkeeper decided Friday to defy the federal government and reopen his lodge.

That stand lasted about two hours as National Park Service rangers blocked the entrances to the privately run Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway after owner Bruce O'Connell decided to reopen his dining room, gift shop and country store at noon Friday for lunch. The federal government had forced the inn, in a leased building on federal land, to shut down at 6 p.m. ET Thursday at the height of fall foliage — and tourism — season.

Yes, lots of places legitimately must be closed during a government shutdown for which both political parties are responsible.  But examples cited here fall square on the shoulders of this incompetent President and his thuggish administration who want to punish the American people as much as possible, believing that Republicans will get the blame.

And considering that so many of our once free and independent media now are his slavish lapdogs, they might be right.