Washington, DC – January 13, 2014 – Today, Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1), a newly minted Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, penned a letter to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-4) petitioning the Committee to remove the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta from the legislative text of H.R. 3131, the National Park Service Study Act of 2013. This legislation would initiate feasibility studies of 10 parcels of land across the country to study the viability of transitioning them to National Park status.
The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta has been an accessible area for South Alabama sportsmen for hundreds of years. The prospect of its transition to National Park status has been a source of controversy, as concerns have surfaced regarding the degree of restricted access that could come with the National Park designation. Congressman Byrne repeatedly promised over the course of the past months leading up to his swearing-in that he would defend the ability of private sportsmen and outdoorsmen in Alabama to access this historic area.
Byrne said: “The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta is a historic area that generations of sportsmen in South Alabama, including my own family, have enjoyed for hundreds of years. The federal government has no need to come into the backyards of South Alabamians who have been good stewards of this area, restricting access to the very land they have so diligently cared for. Today I am taking a stand to voice the concerns of South Alabamians who are wary of the federal government’s intrusion onto this area. I will continue fighting to preserve access to this area for the avid sportsmen who enjoy this area to this day.”
At this time, no new study of the proposal to transform the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta into a National Park has been undertaken. Congressman Byrne has made clear that he would oppose any new study.
In light of the large presence of sportsmen in South Alabama, and Representative Byrne’s own upbringing hunting and fishing on the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, today he announced that he is joining the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC). The CSC is one of the largest caucuses in the entire U.S. Congress, with nearly 300 Members in the House and Senate.
Byrne said: “I am proud to join the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. South Alabama is known as a haven for sportsmen, with beautiful natural landscapes, plentiful wildlife, and a people that grow up outdoors and on the water. The Caucus’ mission to promote the interests of sportsmen nationwide is a shared priority of mine, and I look forward to working with these Members to promote policies that protect access to lands and preserve our natural scenery for generations to come.”
Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairman Bob Latta (OH-5) responded: "I'm proud to welcome Bradley to the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. As a proven leader and outdoor enthusiast, I look forward to working with him to protect and grow the great traditions of hunting and fishing."
Source: Bradley Byrne Press Release