Westerners strongly endorse the idea of wind and solar energy companies doing their part in maintaining our hunting and fishing heritage according to a poll released Wednesday.
When asked about royalties from wind and solar energy, 84 percent of respondents favored using a percentage of the funds to restore fish and wildlife habitat impacted by development. Echoing that support, a majority said they favored using a percentage of that money to create new fishing and hunting areas to replace those impacted by wind and solar developments.
“While the numbers themselves are impressive, perhaps the more impressive thing to note is that the respondents aren’t necessarily hunters or anglers. And yet they still support maintaining these opportunities,” said Keith Curley, director of government affairs for Trout Unlimited. “The tide is turning in the West. People know that to maintain the places they love – to keep the West they want – they need to keep habitats healthy. That means taking care of what we have. And people are starting to realize sportsmen are major players in that effort.”
The poll was conducted jointly by democratic pollster, Peak Campaigns, and republican pollster Bellwether Research and Consulting.
Bill Schenk, a sportsman from Montana, noted that this poll provides even more reason to support a set of bills introduced in Congress over the past year – bills that if passed could mean direct benefits to sportsmen.
“Sportsmen walk to every corner of our public lands. They know what is going on out there, and they can sense changes in the land and in the wildlife,” Schenk said. “Encouraging policies and legislation that balance renewable energy development with the interests of sportsmen would be wise advice indeed.”
The suite of bills, (S. 1775, H.R. 5991 and H.R. 6154, collectively, the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act) would provide funding to protect and improve habitat and create access for hunters and anglers. It does this by establishing royalties and then using some of those funds to help enhance habitat and protect the places where development should not occur – the places you love to fish and hunt.
“We want our public lands to be great places to fish and hunt,” Curley said. “Certainly there is a need for wind and solar energy. But all energy comes with a price and all too often it is sportsmen and women who pay it. It doesn’t need to be that way and with legislation such as this, it won’t have to be.”
Renewable Energy Bills: Facts and Figures
Three bipartisan bills have been introduced that support a balance between renewable energy and fish and wildlife:
- S. 1775: Introduced late last year in the Senate by Senators Tester (D-MT), Risch (R-ID), Reid (D-NV), Udall (D-CO) and Heller (R-NV).
- H.R. 5991: Introduced in June by Representatives Heck (R-NV) and Heinrich (D-NM)
- H.R. 6154 : Introduced in July by Representatives Gosar (R-AZ) and Thompson (D-CA)
All facilitate responsible development of wind and solar energy on public lands
– Institute a stable, predictable royalty on public land wind and solar energy
-Sets up a pilot leasing program for wind and solar on public lands
-2 wind and 2 solar pilots, followed by Secretarial determination on whether to fully transition to a leasing program
-Clear process for transitioning from current permitting system to leasing
– Revenues from wind and solar energy development used for permit processing
-15 percent of revenues derived from wind and solar development will be put toward permit processing
-Funding to offset impacts to fish, wildlife and water resources
-35 percent of revenues derived from wind and solar development will be used to offset impacts to fish and wildlife habitats and water resources. However, in the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act, H.R. 6154, only 25 percent of revenues would go to fish and wildlife and 10 percent would go to deficit reduction.
– Revenue return to states and counties
-As with other forms of energy development, revenues from wind and solar development would be returned to states and counties of origin
-25 percent of revenue to the state where energy was produced
-25 percent of revenue to county/counties where energy was produced
Broad support: These principles are supported by sportsmen’s groups, counties, conservationists and others.
- National Association of Counties
- Western Governors Association
- Sportsmen’s Groups: Trout Unlimited, American Fisheries Society, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, American Sportfishing Association, Anglers United of Arizona, Archery Trade Association, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, B.A.S.S., LLC, Berkley Conservation Institute, Pure Fishing, Boone and Crockett Club, Bowhunting Preservation Alliance, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Camp Fire Club of America, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Conservation Force, Dallas Safari Club, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Houston Safari Club, International Game Fish Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Wildlife Federation, North American Grouse Partnership, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Public Lands Foundation, Quality Deer Management Association, Ruffed Grouse Society, The Wildlife Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Wild Sheep Foundation, Wildlife Forever, Wildlife Management Institute.
- Outdoor Alliance
- Taxpayers for Common Sense