Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

MI: Strength in numbers: Groups unite to stave off cuts

Washington – With Congress’s fledgling “super committee”
currently considering major federal deficit reduction, a new
coalition of some 1,000 groups and businesses has joined “in urging
Congress to consider the economic impacts of the great outdoors and
historic preservation as it makes critical decisions concerning
America’s fiscal health,” according to a press release.

The “America’s Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation”
bases much of its argument in sustained conservation funding levels
on a recent report that highlights the economic impact of outdoor
recreation.

The report’s findings highlight the value of outdoor recreation
conservation, and more:

 9.4 million American jobs;

 $1.06 trillion in total economic impact;

 $107 billion annually generated in tax revenue.

The report – “The Economics Associated with Outdoor Recreation,
Natural Resources Conservation and Historic Preservation in the
United States” – was commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation and was completed by Southwick Associates.

The release of the report was accompanied by a press conference in
Washington.

Vaughn Collins, director of government affairs for the Theodore
Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said the far-reaching coalition
would “support things that benefit conservation,” but likely
wouldn’t advocate specific programs.

Collins said the collective of 1,000 groups and businesses is
supported by between 20 million and 30 million Americans.

A letter that highlights the economic effects of the outdoors and
conservation across the country has circulated through Congress.
Collins said it originally was sent to House Speaker John Boehner
and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, followed by a mass mailing
to all members of Congress.

More recently, Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate
who comprise the joint super committee received a mailing urging
Congressional leaders “to sustain the federal funds that are
critical to the American way of life,” a coalition press release
said.

Dale Hall, CEO of Ducks Unlimited, said conservation funding often
provides the biggest bang for the buck, in terms of federal
spending.

“This economic report highlights how cost-effective conservation
and preservation programs make a clear profit for the U.S. taxpayer
…,” said Hall, a former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. “This coalition has come together because all of us
understand how critical conservation, outdoor recreation, and
historic preservation are to America’s legacy, economy, and
people.”

Collins said the Congressional super committee is expected to
produce a bill that will provide deficit reduction to the tune of
about $1.2 trillion by Nov. 23. The House and Senate must approve
the bill by Dec. 31. If not, across-the-board cuts for all federal
programs could be in store. Of course, even those decisions could
be subject to change.

Super committee recommendations wouldn’t be scheduled to take
effect until 2013, when a new president and new Congress could be
in place, which, Collins said, could change things.

“It’s a ‘guided mystery,’ ” he said, referring to the eventual
outcome.

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