Friday, July 23, 2010

NM reps Heinrich & Lujan vote against hunters, handicapped community

Yesterday the House Resources Committee marked up Heinrich & Lujan's H.R. 5388, a bill to expand the boundaries of the Cibola National Forest. As part of the expansion the BLM Manzano Wilderness Study Area would be transferred to the Forest Service and designated as wilderness.

During markup, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) offered an amendment which would have allowed hunters and the handicapped community to use "wheeled, muscle-powered carts for the removal of shot game" in the wilderness. Both Heinrich & Lujan voted against the amendment and it failed. Note the "muscle-powered" limitation. No motor, just a cart with wheels (which the agencies say is mechanical transport and disallowed by the Wilderness Act).

Interestingly, during the markup several weeks ago of H.R. 3914, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the full committee approved the language allowing the game carts. Coloradans will be authorized to use the game carts in their new wilderness, but thanks to Heinrich & Lujan, hunters and the handicapped in NM will be prohibited from using game carts.

Rep. Bishop said, “The right to hunt shouldn’t just be limited to those physically fit enough to carry their game out on their backs or who can afford to hire expensive guides and pack animals." Apparently Heinrich & Lujan think hunting should be limited to a select few.

And do Heinrich & Lujan really believe a wheeled cart with no motor will destroy the resource or ruin someone's wilderness experience? Are they so anxious to do the bidding of the enviros that they will oppose any amendment to the Wilderness Act no matter how reasonable? The ability to use the carts would expand the hunting opportunities for many New Mexicans, but apparently environmental lobbyists come first.

Heinrich & Lujan are all for expanding the federal domain, but oppose expanding hunting opportunities. Shame on them.

Let this also serve as a lesson to all those who continue to say the Border Patrol will have adequate access to Bingaman's proposed new wilderness designations in southern NM. They can't even patrol in a motorless wheeled cart!

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