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Hunters, Anglers To Congress: Act On Global Warming

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February 26, 2008

St. Paul, MN – According to 700 hunting and fishing organizations from Minnesota and nationwide, it's time for serious action to stop global warming. They've sent an open letter to Congress calling for strong climate-change legislation. Gary Botzek is with one of the groups, the Minnesota Conservation Federation. He says there's evidence of the impact here, such as its effect on moose.

"Warmer winters have affected them most directly, allowing parasites and other negative impacts on them, such as stress, to decrease the population."

Botzek also points to trout, which are losing habitat due to warmer water temperatures. He adds that warmer and shorter winters are changing bird migration patterns and reducing lake ice, too. The message is that weather variations have a huge impact on fish and wildlife and recreation, he warns, and Minnesota is a good indicator of the impact of a warming earth.

"Our fish and wildlife in Minnesota are kind of like canaries in the mineshaft. They are indicators, even before it affects human populations, of what's happening with temperature changes, either severe warming or severe cold."

He says hunters and anglers are often the first to see changes in wildlife and natural resources. They're calling for a plan that cuts global warming by two percent a year through a "cap and trade" system, and for increased funding for fish and wildlife conservation and restoration.

Botzek says any long-term solutions must include meaningful changes in energy policy.

"Most of the alternatives, both at the federal and state level, relate to fossil fuels, whether it's coal or the oil that we burn. We need to move quicker toward alternative fuels in order to release less gas and CO2 into our atmosphere."

Botzek says there's also a dollars-and-cents incentive to fight global warming, because 30 million people who hunt or fish spend $75 billion a year and support almost two million jobs.

The text of the letter to Congress and other state-specific information is available online at targetglobalwarming.org.

Jim Wishner/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - MN