In late 2021, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a suit challenging a 2020 FWS rule that opened and expanded over 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries across the country. CBD alleged that hunting on these public lands threatens endangered species by increasing the number of people on the landscape, with lead poisoning, and because hunters mistakenly shoot endangered species.
CBD and the FWS have announced they are discussing possible settlement. SCI and its partners are preparing to join the case to defend the rule and discourage the settlement of CBD’s erroneous and unsubstantiated claims. SCI and its members provided extensive public comments on the proposed hunting opportunities in 2020 and confirmed that the rule satisfies all applicable laws and advances the purposes of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, which requires the FWS to open hunting and fishing on refuges where compatible with conservation. Hunting contributes significantly to conservation in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Currently, SCI is fighting for a No-Net-Loss commitment from the Biden Administration through our No-Net-Loss Campaign. A No-Net-Loss policy means maintaining the current level of hunting and fishing access on federal public lands across the country.