Activist: Hunters and Fishers Are Mother Nature’s “First Responders”
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
MADISON, Wis. - The Environmental Protection Agency's announcement of proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions from power plants brought swift reaction. Environmentalists applauded the move, while business interests said the new rules will bring about higher energy costs.
Veteran sportsman and outdoorsman John Gale, manager of the National Wildlife Federation's Sportsmen's Outreach Campaign, said people like him are among the first to see the effects of climate change.
"Hunters and anglers and sportsmen, we really see first-hand how climate change in altering habitat and putting our outdoor heritage at risk," he said. "We're Mother Nature's first responders."
Power plants are the source of 40 percent of carbon emissions in America, according to the EPA. The 645-page document seems certain to bring legal challenges, but Gale said when it comes to the environment and climate change, he tries to think of it in light of how he'll explain it to his 6-year-old daughter in the future.
"Did I help make the right decisions and advocate for the right policies along the way," he said, "to make sure that I can take her to these same cool, clean waters where I caught my first trout, where my grandfather and my great-grandfather and generations before me went?"
The proposed new rules set different carbon-reduction requirements for each state, and give the states flexibility in how to achieve the goal. Wisconsin will be required to reduce carbon emissions 34.2 percent by 2030. At least one environmental watchdog group, the World Resources Institute, has said Wisconsin is positioned well to achieve the proposed standards.
In the long run, Gale said, it's not really about money or politics, but rather it's about our children's future.
"And so when I talk about this rule and when I talk about fighting for climate change, I'm not talking about defending a political party or another," Gale said. "I'm talking about defending our future generation's inheritance. We're talking about what we are going to pass down. Is it going to be impaired, or are we going to demonstrate what it's like to be good stewards of the resources that we have?"
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