UPDATE: Rep. Doug Lamborn's office provide the following response:
“The billboard has it all wrong.
“We are drowning in debt, and we have to draw the line somewhere. The federal government already owns more than a third of all land in Colorado. The people of Colorado enjoy tremendous opportunities to hunt and fish. Our priority must be on protecting and preserving the lands we already have.
“At a time when Washington is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends, there is simply no money for buying new land. My common sense amendment would have saved taxpayers about $51 million.” — Doug Lamborn (CO-05)
The billboard is referring to an amendment Congressman Lamborn introduced in July to H.R 2584, an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. The amendment failed on a voice vote.
The amendment would have zeroed out funding for land acquisition in the FY 2012 budget for the following:
· Bureau of Land Management - $4,880,000
· Fish and Wildlife Service - $15,047,000
· National Park Service - $18,294,000
· Forest Service - $12,500,000
————ORIGINAL POST, 12:17 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30————-
A couple of guys from Denver were in Colorado Springs today to call attention to a billboard at Platte Avenue and Chelton Drive that blasts Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, for directing money that used to go to land and water conservation to other uses.
Gaspar Perricon and Tim Mauck, co-directors of the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance, had the sign put up because they're upset that Lamborn wasn't standing up for conservation, which is a key thing for the nation's 32 million hunters and anglers, half of whom rely on public lands for their activities.
In case you can't read it, the sign says: "Congressman Lamborn voted to gut the Land and Water Conservation Fund, limiting access to future hunting and angling across Colorado. The sign sits across the street from Sportsman's Warehouse, which caters to outdoor sports such as fishing, hunting and camping."
Those anglers and hunters, they say, contribute $192 billion to the economy and support 1.6 million jobs. In Colorado, the numbers are $2 billion and 22,000 jobs, Mauck says. There are roughly 500,000 fishing and hunting licenses issued in Colorado annually.
"Loss of wildlife habitat is the number one threat to hunting and angling," he says.
Both said they understand the country is in a budget crisis, but the country shouldn't sacrifice the environment in the process.
Here's the group's press release:
DENVER — The Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance is hosting a media event to unveil a billboard expressing disappointment in Congressman Lamborn’s opposition of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which provides access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities in Colorado.
During the U.S. House of Representatives debate of the FY 2012 Interior funding bill, Congressman Lamborn sponsored and introduced an amendment to H.R. 2584 with the stated purpose of zeroing out any Land and Water Conservation Fund monies available to the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Forest Service to protect wildlife habitat and clean water.
In a time where lack of access to quality hunting and fishing opportunities is a reason for declining participation, Rep. Lamborn has proven his willingness to further degrade a unique American legacy of wildlife management and conservation prized by hunters and anglers throughout the nation. According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, nearly half of the nation’s 32 million hunters and anglers conduct a portion of their hunting activity on public lands.
The Land and Water Conservation fund has provided funding for projects and conservation efforts in Congressman Lamborn's district including the Arkansas River, the Royal Gorge and Ramah Reservoir.
Established by Congress in 1965, LWCF is funded by royalty payments paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in public waters. It is not funded by taxpayers. However, Congress has failed to fully fund the program since its inception and has continuously redirected funds intended to protect and enhance public lands. Recent polling shows 9 in 10 Americans oppose any diversion of funding from the LWCF.
“We must be sure that we are not leveraging our national heritage of hunting and angling against short term gains,” said Gaspar Perricone of the Colorado-based Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Sportsmen and women across Colorado need our elected officials to stand up to special interests and honor our American sporting traditions and the resources that support them.”
We've asked Lamborn's office for a comment and will post when and if we hear something.