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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

OIA and Coalition Ask President Obama to Establish Canyonlands National Monument

Sportsmen's Bills in Lame Duck Get Complicated

How Dealing with the Fiscal Cliff Could Impact Your Business

Turnout for AOA Conference Looks Great

OIA and Coalition Ask President Obama to Establish Canyonlands National Monument

In a letter signed by over 100 businesses including a number of outfitters, the Outdoor Industry Association has asked President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to create Canyonlands National Monument from 1.4 million acres surrounding Canyonlands National Park. The boundaries would include Glen Canyon National Recreation area, a broad area north of the lake, and a stretch of the Green River in Utah north of Canyonlands National Park. President Obama does not need Congressional approval to set aside the areas as a National Monument.  The Presidential proclamation will likely determine which recreation uses will continue. Many Clinton era monuments precluded motorized, off-road vehicle uses, for example, but he reversed the prohibition on mountain biking for most monuments he designated after a controversy erupted following the creation of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  While recreation is not a purpose of National Monuments, the management plan and the proclamation itself will decide the extent to which commercial outfitting and other recreation activities will continue in the area.  Much of it is very remote, but according to some outfitters, a number of roads are necessary to access the best recreation areas.  

The Green River watershed, including portions of Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, contains the world's largest oil shale deposit. A bill passed by the Utah legislature to have the state take control of a significant stretch of BLM land in Utah is one of the reasons cited by some for the proposed monument designation. The state legislature's act was mostly for show since the state has no authority to override the Federal Supremacy clause of the Constitution and the state could not even afford to fight the fires much less manage those areas.  Perhaps of greater concern is the prospect for oil shale development in the Green River watershed.

The monument idea is not so popular with members of the Utah Congressional delegation who do not like their legislative authority usurped by Presidential proclamations.

Sportsmen's Bills in Lame Duck Gets Complicated

Two competing bills to advance hunting and fishing on public lands are awaiting Congressional action.  The Senate bill, S 3525, introduced by Senator Jon Tester, who recently survived an election challenge from Rep. Dennis Rehberg, would designate 1.5% of Land and Water Conservation Fund money to improve access to public lands for hunting.  His bill authorizes continued use of lead shot in ammunition and extends the disposal (sale) of surplus public lands to those areas which were declared surplus after 2000.  Previously only lands declared surplus before 2000 were available for sale.  Senator Murkowski has proposed an amendment to the Tester bill which will declare public lands open for hunting unless specifically closed.  A House bill, H.R. 4089, already includes the Murkowski amendment and further mandates hunting and fishing activities "as necessary" for the administration of the recreation purposes of The Wilderness Act.  Given the wrangling that's like to occur between the House and Senate versions and the efforts to deal with the so-called Fiscal Cliff, the clock may run out on these bills.

How Dealing with the Fiscal Cliff Could Impact Your Business

While the Republicans and Democrats have agreed to put revenues on the table to deal with the looming Fiscal Cliff and the 8.1% across the board sequestration of agency budgets, the parties differ on what types of revenues to use to reduce the deficit.  Republicans favor non tax revenues, such as user fees.  The Democrats want higher taxes on those with incomes over $250,000, including some small businesses (sole proprietorships and Subchapter S Corps), which are taxed at the individual rate.  The website explains the issue. "The income of corporations is taxed twice, once at the corporate level through the payment of the corporate income tax, and again at the individual owner (level) of a corporation when corporate profits are distributed in the form of dividends or capital gains. Other forms of business, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, and limited liability companies, are not subject to an entity level tax, and business profits are taxed only at the individual owner level."

Robust Turnout for Daytona Conference 

"While attendance to the AOA conference in the East has usually been lower than western locations, this year we broke the mold," says David Brown, Executive Director of America Outdoors Association.  "An attractive Florida location has attracted stronger western participation than we anticipated and the unification with the Professional Paddlesports Association will make this one of the most exciting, well-attended shows since the turn of the century. We are delighted. Only a few hotel rooms are left because we took 30% more rooms than we contracted for", said Brown.

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