Unelected “Environmental Stewardship Board” would review hunting, fishing regs

By Guy Page

A bill creating an unelected state board with oversight over the Vermont environment, including hunting and fishing, was scheduled for review this week by the House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee.

H167 , sponsored by Committee Chair Amy Sheldon (D-E. Middlebury), Vice-Chair  Jim McCullough (D-Williston), and Kari Dolan (D-Waitsfield) would “establish the Environmental Stewardship Board to oversee and consult with the Secretary of Natural Resources regarding the operation and coordination of the Agency of Natural Resources and the management, protection, and conservation of State surface waters, wetlands, wildlife, forests, Agency of Natural Resources lands, groundwater, air quality, and other natural resources.”

More specifically, the nine-member Environmental Stewardship Board would “review rules and rule amendments proposed by the Agency or the Fish and Wildlife Board to determine if they are consistent with science, to determine if they are consistent with the long-term health of Vermont’s ecosystems, to determine if they are consistent with State goals or policies, and to recommend revision to the proposed rules or proposed rule amendments or recommend adoption of additional rules.” 

The bill appears to set up the Environmental Stewardship Board on at least equal footing with the Fish & Wildlife Board, long the bugaboo of hunting and fishing opponents: it shall “recommend to the General Assembly science-based policies for the management of the wildlife of the State, provided that the Fish and Wildlife Board shall retain authority… to adopt rules for the regulation of the taking of game fish, wild game, and fur-bearing animals that have open and closed seasons.”

While appearing to continue F&W Board authority to set hunting and fishing regulations, it would add another layer of regulatory review between the Board and the Legislature, and also offer proposed revisions to F&W Board rules and regs to the Legislature. 

The proposed makeup of the board tilts environmental. The governor would appoint one member each from the F&W Board, the Endangered Species Committee, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and statewide groups promoting biodiversity, water quality, climate and air quality, forest conservation, pollution reduction, and solid waste management. 

H167 is opposed by many in the hunting and fishing community, including former Rutland state senate candidate Terry Williams of Poultney. “Passage of H.167, in my opinion, will create an unnecessary, additional layer of bureaucracy to the process and is an attempt by the legislature to regain control of hunting, fishing and trapping and wildlife and reward their cronies by an appointment to this new committee,” he wrote in a letter to the editor to the Rutland Herald and Vermont Daily

Categories: Environment

10 replies »

  1. I think Terry Williams hit the nail squarely on the head.

    This is another attempt by a seemingly unbridled legislature to mind other peoples business.

    • If the elected officials of H167 do NOT want to work for we the citizens of Vermont, then perhaps they should quit. They are passing legislation duties onto unelected officials.

  2. Governmental overreach is apt description for much of what our legislature has become. They just keep fiddling with us.

  3. H-167 Unelected Environmental Stewardship Board is yet another attempt of our Governor and Legislators to use scientific data to regulate our lives!The fact being,this is all unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable!!I am not a rebellious person,and do not intend to become one,but Vermont is not an enjoyable place to live!Our leaders cater to special interests,tourists,and illegal aliens,more than resident taxpayers!!

  4. Who pays the expenses of this new idea to control the lives of Vermonters in one more way? First place to look would be the hunting & fishing license fees paid by the already in place – environmentally conscious licensed hunters and fishermen. Follow the money and then the science will follow. Another overreach by our not so friendly Progressive friends. Take some time to read “1984” by George Orwell. What is described in that book is happening before our eyes today. That book was written in 1949, just after WW II. Be wary friends.

  5. Too much overreach by the left. Another regulatory arm from our legislature to impose more rules and regulations that in my opinion are not necessary.

  6. When the Governor’s administration, and the Legislature cannot manage a job, then shame on them. Unelected Boards and Commissions grow like cancer, in fact early in his time as Governor tried to enumerate all the unelected boards and Commisions that had been created over the decades.
    They are everywhere and nowhere, either too powerful or useless!!
    We must hold Legislature, and our Governors to do our business properly,
    and not slide their responsibilities to invisible forces

  7. Another layer… the creators of this proposals are not serving

    the will of the people but rather serving an agenda to attempt to control our states very valuable resource!
    The extra layer of oversite is NOT necessary and potentially adds expense in addition to being an appointed entity which raises other concerns!
    THIS IS NOT NEEDED AND NOT WANTED…. I suggest legislative time, energy and expense be spent addressing
    the many critical needs of our state!

  8. Just another attempt by the anti hunting/trapping group “Protect our Wildlife, and other “non consumptive,” preservationist users of the environment to hold sway over traditional conservationists. Some may not know the difference between preservationists and conservationists so here it is. Conservationists, like hunters, trappers, fisherman, and the forestry industry (consumptive users) understand that some resources in nature are renewable, and therefor can be managed for the use of the people. Preservationists on the other hand do not believe in, or want man “managing” the resources. They believe that nature is best left to it’s own cycles. The anti hunters/preservationists, saw that their attempt at putting people on the F&W Board did not work out well, so this is their next logical step. I suspect that they get a lot of their propaganda from “professional” biologists that could not get a real job with a real wildlife management agency, consequently they rip the real biology with pseudo biology any chance that they get. This is another attempt to accomplish that goal. The way that I see it is that if our professional managers in the Vt. F&W Dept were doing their job properly, we/they would not have resources left to manage. I trust our professional State Wildlife, and Forestry managers, their’s are jealous wannabes !