WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after a bipartisan majority in the House successfully passed H.R. 2406, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act which included the Congressman’s Grand Canyon Bison Management Act:
“Today’s passage of my Grand Canyon Bison Management Act demonstrates the power of limited government solutions that save taxpayer dollars by enlisting the help of the public. Protecting the majestic Grand Canyon from the invasive and destructive ‘beefalo’ is not a partisan issue. But too often, commonsense is overshadowed by big government incompetence and pandering by this administration to extremist special-interest groups.
“Allowing state-licensed volunteer hunters to cull this unmanageable herd and remove the bison meat from the park is an irrefutable win-win for everyone involved. Instead of enlisting expensive sharp shooters who leave carcasses rotting in the park (as outlined in the new Park Service proposal), my legislation recruits volunteer hunters to safely thin the bison herd in a coordinated effort that will also generate funding for habitat conservation at no cost to taxpayers. This legislation should be the gold standard for developing practical, bipartisan solutions that solve real problems without spending a dime.”
Congressman Gosar’s bill, the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, was included in Title XVI of the SHARE Act, this year’s Sportsmen’s Package.
The SHARE Act passed today also included other provisions that Congressman Gosar has championed including: the Open Book on Equal Access to Justice Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced which cracks down on extremist environmental groups profiting off the taxpayer dime; and a Gosar provision first initiated in July 2011, which blocks the Army Corps of Engineers from instituting an unconstitutional provision banning self-defense carry on Corps’ land.
The SHARE Act also contained several other bills of which the Congressman has cosponsored and strongly supports including: the Recreational Lands Self-defense Act, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Opportunities Act and the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, the Newhouse amendment which requires the Forest Service to publish a notice in the Federal Register for the closure of any public road on Forest System lands, a bipartisan amendment that reissues the 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes and Wyoming from the Endangered Species Act. The full text of H.R. 2406 can be found HERE.
Over the last 10 to 15 years, the cross-breed of cattle and bison, “the beefalo”, have migrated from the Kaibab National Forest and found sanctuary inside the Grand Canyon National Park, protected from hunters. The estimated 600 head of beefalo are wreaking havoc on the park lands, eating native grasslands and polluting wetlands with their waste. It is estimated that the herd needs to be reduced by about 400 head to meet sustainable management levels.
These bison aren’t the genuine, iconic American buffalo seen roaming Yellowstone National Park or the Great Plains. They're actually the brood of a bison-cattle crossbreeding experiment that was abandoned in the 1900’s.
On March 19, 2015, Congressman Gosar and U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake introduced the Grand Canyon Bison Management Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill that authorizes volunteer hunters to cull bison inside Grand Canyon National Park and to take home the meat. Specifically, the bill directs the Park Service to use state-licensed skilled-volunteers as part of the solution to this issue at no cost to the American taxpayer. The tags sold for these beefalo will result in significant revenues for state and conservation coffers. The bill also clarifies that bison meat is not ‘federal surplus property’ and is allowed to be removed from the park.
The bill allows hunters and conservationists to play an important role in addressing the beefalo population problem. This legislation requires compliance with all federal environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act.
Congressman Gosar successfully attached H.R. 1443 by passing an amendment to H.R. 2406 when the bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee in October 2015. Read more HERE. The full text of H.R. 1443 can be found HERE.
The Senate version of the bill, S.782, passed the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on November 19, 2015.
The eight bipartisan House cosponsors include Congressman Trent Franks (R, AZ-08), Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D, AZ-01), Congressman Matt Salmon (R, AZ-05), Congressman David Schweikert (R, AZ-06), Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-09), Congresswoman Cynthia M. Lummis (R, WY-At Large) Congressman Tom McClintock (R, CA-04) and Ryan Zinke (R, MT-At Large).
A recent Fox News article documenting the devastation caused by of the beefalo in the Grand Canyon National Park can be found HERE.