Statement by Eric Orff :
NH Climate Change Task Force Listening Session,
New Hampshire's Hunters and Anglers Want Action on Climate Change
Feb. 19, 2008
On behalf of National Wildlife Federation's 8,000 members in New Hampshire, I urge the Climate Change Policy Task Force to develop and endorse the policies scientists say are necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change and protect our state's treasured fish and wildlife resources. This will require aggressive action to reduce the state's global warming pollution, combined with a concerted effort to help wildlife survive the climate change that is already occurring as a result of decades of inaction on this critical issue.
New Hampshire's hunters and anglers - and the owners of local businesses that depend on them – seek immediate action on climate change. Last week, a dozen New Hampshire sporting clubs and over a dozen small businesses involved in serving the sporting community signed on to a letter to the U.S. Congress requesting ACTION to curb the pollution that causes climate change. Across the nation, nearly 700 sporting clubs signed on to this letter. Specifically, these sportsmen are calling upon New Hampshire's Senators Gregg
and Sununu to support federal legislation curbing global warming gasses by 2 percent per year thru a cap and trade system that will provide critical funding for wildlife protection.
These sportsmen represent the one in seven New Hampshire residents who hunt and/or fish. That's 108,000 who fish, and another 51,000 residents who hunt, spending on average $700,000 per DAY here in the Granite State. Hunters and anglers spend $255 million per year creating over 4,000 jobs that depend on this industry. The ripple effect from this infusion into our economy is close to a half billion dollars per year.
Hunting and fishing is not just a way we recreate, it is a way of life in New Hampshire, contributing to our culture and adding to the quality of life. In a recent poll of the state's hunters and anglers, two-thirds of those surveyed said they have seen changes to fish or wildlife or their habitats due to climate changes. Thousands of experienced sportsmen and women are witnessing changes they believe are directly related to global warming. These changes are occurring across a range of fish, fowl and furry woodland creatures. Because of these observations, hunters have requested changes in fall woodcock and waterfowl hunting seasons to compensate for shifts in fall migratory patterns.
Over on New Hampshire's seacoast, river herring runs on the Taylor, Exeter and Oyster Rivers have declined significantly in the last half decade. This is due to high summer water temperatures which deplete the oxygen levels in the rivers, just after the adults have spawned millions of eggs into the freshwater. This could potentially have broader impacts on the Great Bay ecosystem, as many species depend on these runs as a key food source.
The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's recently completed Wildlife Action Plan lists a whole host of species which are at risk due to global warming. From Alpine habitats and the rare White Mountain Frillary butterflies, to Pine Martens and Common Loons, to Common Terns at the seacoast, many species we treasure here in New Hampshire are at risk.
National Wildlife Federation strongly believes that – in addition to mandating aggressive cuts in the state's global warming pollution from all sources, beyond those covered by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative - New Hampshire's Climate Change Action Plan must include provisions to better plan for wildlife confronting global warming. Wildlife are already feeling the heat from global warming, and New Hampshire must recognize this as a essential part of addressing the impacts of climate change.
The time for action is now – and attention is needed at both the state and federal levels. Another step that the Governor's Climate Change Task Force should take to help confront climate change is to endorse federal legislation to address the issue and call on New Hampshire's Senators to support aggressive global warming solutions. Specifically, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act currently under consideration in Congress would reduce global warming pollution by two percent per year, thru a cap and trade system that will generate much needed funding to be used right here in New Hampshire to help mitigate the effects of global warming on this state's fish and wildlife resources. Funding from the Lieberman/Warner Bill could be used to help implement New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan. This is the kind of comprehensive approach to the climate change problem that's needed, and it is essential that New Hampshire's Senators become part of the solution to global warming.
In conclusion, New Hampshire's sportsmen – and the local businesses across the state that depend on them - strongly call for policies that will reverse the threat of climate change and fuel a transition to a cleaner energy future, while funding the preservation of our fish and wildlife for future generations.