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As President Barack Obama and Congress lay out their priorities for 2015 and beyond, a national sportsmen’s coalition urged leaders to keep in mind that the state of our public lands – and the fish, wildlife and recreation supported by them – is crucial to the state of our economy and national identity.

Lake OverholserSportsmen for Responsible Energy Development noted that public lands help fuel the nation’s $646 billion outdoor recreation industry, including hunting and angling that contribute about $90 billion annually to the economy. Well-planned energy development that safeguards our waterways, air quality and fish and wildlife populations will pay dividends for generations to come, SFRED members said.

SFRED representatives made the following responses to the president’s State of the Union address:

“As the president said, it’s up to us to choose who we want to be in the decades to come.  We can choose to build a future that leads the world in producing energy from new and better technologies and also preserves America’s natural heritage.”
Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife Federation’s public lands policy director.

“The Obama administration showed it understood that a healthy environment and healthy economy can coexist when it approved oil and gas leasing reforms to restore balance to public lands management. We need to stay the course and ensure that oil, gas, wind and solar energy are produced responsibly and the hunting, fishing and recreation that sustain local communities across the country can continue.”
Ed Arnett, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Responsible Energy Development

“As the new Congress gets down to work, hunters and anglers remain committed to finding common-ground solutions for responsibly managing the natural resources that are so important to the economy and our way of life. Legislation that would maintain sportsmen’s access to public lands, fully fund conservation programs and enact a framework for more efficient, responsible public land renewable energy development are potential bipartisan accomplishments.”
Corey Fisher, energy team lead for Trout Unlimited