Week of January 3 , 2005

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

New York

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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       New Product  Archives

National

New Study Reports:  Americans told Fish Tales about Mercury Hazards in Fish Consumption

 Washington, D.C.—Government agencies and environmental groups have increasingly urged consumers to beware of mercury-contaminated fish, but a new Competitive Enterprise Institute study finds no evidence that fish consumption is hazardous. Instead, the report reveals that not only could the health of all Americans suffer if they are scared away from eating fish, these anti-fish groups’ answer for correcting the “problem” is also flawed.

 

 “The problem is, methylmercury in fish is not the same as mercury in emissions, and evidence indicates that further reductions in mercury emissions would not have an appreciable effect on mercury exposure for Americans or improve public health,”  writes author Sandy Szwarc, a long-time nurse and culinary professional, in “Fishy Advice: The Politics of Methylmercury in Fish and Mercury Emissions.”.

 

Mercury scares also conflict with advice from the American

College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that pregnant women eat two to three servings of fish each week in order to promote fetal health.

 

“The sad fact is that terrorizing the public about a perfectly safe and nourishing food isn’t about public health,” Szwarc continues. “It’s about politics. Activists claim that fish is so contaminated with mercury that it is unsafe for women and children to eat, making harsher restrictions on mercury emissions [from power plants] imperative.”

 

In Fishy Advice, Szwarc shows how the public scare campaign does real public health and economic damage as women are denied the health benefits of a diet rich in seafood and low income consumers are socked with higher utility costs.

 

To read Fishy Advice: The Politics of Methylmercury in Fish and Mercury Emissions, visit http://www.cei.org/pdf/4330.pdf.

 


Wildlife Mgmt Challenges Grow As Animals & People Come In More Frequent Contact

Without hunting/trapping economic damage would skyrocket over 200 % - from its current level of $22 billion to $70 billion.

Washington, D.C. -- The public is becoming increasingly less tolerant of growing wildlife populations, according to a new survey of the nation's wildlife professionals. As the populations of species such as bear and deer continue to grow, and contact with people becomes more frequent, wildlife professionals say they fear that the public is beginning to view wildlife as pests and not with the awe and respect they deserve.

 

According to a survey of state fish and wildlife agencies conducted by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA), 75.7 % of the states reported they fear their public is becoming less tolerant of wildlife overpopulation issues.

 

Wildlife professionals stress that being able to use management techniques that include hunting and trapping helps them maintain a balance between the numbers of people and animals. State agencies report that the greatest increases in deer populations are where hunting is not allowed or access to the land is limited, such as urban and suburban communities.

 

It is our experience that sometimes hunting and trapping are the best methods for conserving and managing our nation's wildlife resources," said Bob Carmichael, of Manitoba Natural Resources in Canada and chairman of the committee that developed the report, "Bears in the Backyard, Deer in the Driveway 2004."

 

However, hunting and trapping in some states have been threatened by legislation that would prevent them from being

used as wildlife management tools. This can have detrimental effects. According to the survey, without hunting and trapping economic damage caused by wildlife would skyrocket over 200 % - from its current level of $22 billion to $70 billion.

 

In addition, the report indicates that as rapid development destroys habitat in many areas of the country, wildlife and people are forced to interact more frequently, thus setting the stage for conflict. As a result, problems are escalating for wildlife professionals throughout the United States - problems ranging from deer-auto collisions, property and environmental damage, and the spread of diseases contracted both by people and animals.

 

Some of the findings from the report:
  ►   Bear complaints have increased 19 %, personnel-hours to resolve complaints have increased 22 %, and state agency expenditures to control bear damage have increased 45 %.
  ►   Eighty-seven percent of all auto accident injuries involving animals are from deer, causing over $1 billion in damage annually. Without regulated hunting that number could more than triple to $3.8 billion.
  ►   Beavers, woodchucks and other species cause millions of dollars in damage each year to roads, bridges, dams, water drainage systems and electrical utilities. Expenditures to address beaver damage over the past five years have increased by 12 %. Wildlife agencies report that without regulated trapping, beaver populations could increase an additional 102 %.

 

The report, "Bears in the Backyard, Deer in the Driveway 2004," includes case studies and state-specific examples of the serious issue of wildlife damage caused by deer, beaver and bear. For a copy of the full report, contact Rachel Brittin, director of public affairs, 202-624-7744, rbrittin@iafwa.org .

 


Environmentalists restrict Americans’ Energy Choices

Environmental lobbyists opposed to oil production on public lands claim that the oil in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) equals only a six-month supply. This is true, however, only if one imagines that the United States stopped using oil from any other source -- no imports, no domestic production, nothing else -- which is unrealistic, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

 

  ►  The Energy Information Agency estimates that ANWR contains between 6 billion and 16 billion barrels of oil.

  ►  By comparison, the United States imports 7 million barrels of oil per day; if only 6 billion barrels of oil were recovered in ANWR, in a time of emergency, the United States could cut all imports of foreign oil for two years with little or no effect on our economy.

  ►  Put another way, ANWR could deliver enough oil to the United States to free us from Saudi Arabian oil for more than 20 years.

And, contrary to environmentalists' claims, there is no reason

for thinking that oil production and environmental quality are incompatible, says Burnett. 

  ► Caribou herds have expanded in and around Prudhoe Bay and other wildlife have flourished as well, apparently unaffected by the relatively primitive (by today's standards) oil and gas development in the area.

  ►  And environmental groups including the Nature Conservancy and the Audubon Society allow oil drilling on some of their most unique properties; as with the rest of the economy, technology has improved in the oil patch.

 

Environmentalists' objections to drilling on public lands aren't really about protecting pristine places at all. Rather, it is about restricting Americans' energy choices, says Burnett.  Everything  points toward the key objective of the environmental movement being that of closing down the economy, natural resources, and productivity of America.

 

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, “America can safely seek new oil,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 3, 2004.


Army Corps Proposes $8.3 Billion for Upgrade of Rivers
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed an $8.3 billion plan to build seven new locks to ease shipping congestion and improve local ecosystems in the Mississippi River region.  The plan was the latest recommendation by the Corps in the last decade to upgrade the 70-year-old lock and dam system on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.

Earlier Corps proposals were criticized by green groups and independent reviewers for failing to look at ways to ease congestion that were cheaper and safer for the environment.

"We believe this (lock and dam modernization) is crucial to the future of the nation's economy and to this important national resource that we move forward," Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, the Army's Chief of Engineers, told reporters.

The Corps, responsible for building federal dams and designating flood plains, said its lock and dam measure would be gradually implemented and updated as new data

becomes available. Initial estimates put the price of ecosystem restoration -- which included preservation of wetlands and nearly 300 birds species -- at $5.7 billion. Design and construction of seven new locks to ease congestion would cost $2.6 billion. The Corps report must be approved by Congress.

 

The plan has support among some Midwestern lawmakers and trade groups, who say corn and soybean farmers need the shipping improvements to remain competitive with exporters in South America. Each year more than 100 million tons of cargo, nearly half of it grain, are exported along the river system. The Corps argues that shipments will increase in coming years.

An earlier Corps draft was criticized after it predicted that grain exports shipped on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers would rise between 1995 and 2000, but they fell.  The National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, has said the Corps plan is flawed and lacks credibility in large part because of its optimistic grain predictions.


Mineta, Bureaucrats Stall Effort to Arm Pilots

Members of Congress are becoming frustrated with bureaucrats who have put roadblocks in the way of a program to arm airline pilots that Congress first authorized months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

Three years later, only an estimated 4,000 of the more than 95,000 commercial pilots have participated in the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. But this lack of participation does not indicate a lack of pilot interest, proponents say. They claim the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has intentionally stymied the program.

 

A soon-to-be-released poll from the pro-gun Airline Pilots Security Alliance indicates upwards of 50,000 commercial pilots would like to become FFDOs, but are reluctant to participate because, as the program has been implemented by TSA, they can only train at a remote desert facility in Artesia, N.M., and they aren't allowed to carry their firearm in a holster outside the cockpit of their plane. Instead, they must carry it around in a bulky 6-pound lockbox.

 

The program has faced an uphill battle from the start. Anti-gun Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, the lone Democrat in the Bush Cabinet, refused to establish the program after Congress authorized it in November 2001. It took additional congressional action a year later, in December 2002, to force TSA to act. Problems remain, however, that lawmakers say TSA has refused to fix.

 

Congressional efforts to modify the program have run into obstacles on Capitol Hill as well. The House version of the just-passed intelligence bill included language offered by Rep. John Mica (R.-Fla.) to improve the program, but Senate opponents--notably anti-gun Senators Joe Lieberman (D.-Conn.) and Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.)--saw that it was cut before final passage, according to congressional aides.

Two leading proponents of the program--Sen. Jim Bunning(R.-Ky.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.)--told HUMAN EVENTS they were frustrated by the inaction. Both placed blame on TSA for failing to adopt "common-sense" changes.

 

"The people who are pilots are professionals. We wouldn't get on the plane if we didn't have faith in them, so I'm just absolutely shocked that there would be any concern," said Wilson, who introduced a bill in April with Bunning to do away with the lockboxes.

 

Even though lawmakers and pilots have complained about the lockboxes, TSA spokeswoman Deirdre O'Sullivan said they're not going away. "The way in which the legislation was written originally said that the area of jurisdiction for federal flight deck officers is the cockpit," she said. (Earlier this year, however, TSA took the liberty of changing its practice of requiring the lockboxes to be stowed with checked luggage. After several firearms were reported missing, pilots were told to carry the lockbox at all times.)

 

Today, an estimated 100 pilots are trained each week, although TSA, citing security risks, refuses to release official figures. The facility's location--Artesia is at least four hours from Albuquerque, N.M., El Paso and Lubbock, Tex.--has slowed its growth, according to Dave Mackett, a pilot and president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance. TSA's O'Sullivan disputed the charges, and said the TSA would expand if demand were to increase.

 

Bunning, meanwhile, said he would introduce legislation next year to keep pressure on TSA. "I think there is no question that we will get major improvements on the flexibility on how you carry and the things that we put into our bill," he told HUMAN EVENTS. "It's a bureaucratic layer we're going to have to cut through."


Bush Establishes Committee to Set Policy on Great Lakes, Oceans

President Bush on December 17 created a Cabinet-level committee to oversee the nation's ocean and Great Lakes policies, and begin considering hundreds of recommendations from a presidential commission on how to restore collapsing fisheries and polluted oceans.

 

Bush set up the Cabinet-level committee as part of his legally required response to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy; that panel of presidential appointees spent nearly three years studying the nation's oceans. The details of Bush's plan were not immediately available but an outline did not include more funding or any bold legislative initiatives.

 

Instead, it called for setting federal research priorities, building a network of buoys to observe ocean and atmospheric conditions, working with local officials to protect coral reefs and giving some fishermen an ownership stake in their fishing grounds as incentive to catch fish in a more sustainable way.

 

Bush's chief environmental advisor, James T. Connaughton, said that the new Committee on Ocean Policy, which he will lead, would consider the commission's 212 recommendations in the coming months. "They gave us a list of things they knew would take some time for development," said Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

 

The White House's go-slow approach brought measured response from James D. Watkins — a retired admiral and chairman of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy — who characterized the new Cabinet-level panel as a "promising first step."

 

Conservation groups, however, asserted that the White House was squandering a historic opportunity to cure the ocean's ill health, given how the president's commission had completed the first comprehensive analysis of the oceans in 35 years

and already had charted a new course for recovery.

 

"We are looking for bolder leadership than that," said Roger T. Rufe Jr., president of the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy. "The president picked 16 people who studied this for three years and came up with 200 or so common-sense recommendations. I would hope that the White House would do more than just bring on more study."

 

But some commercial fishing representatives applauded the White House's approach. "It is our impression that the Bush administration doesn't want to create a revolution but work on an evolutionary manner to solve ocean issues," said David Benton, director of the Marine Conservation Alliance, which represents 85% of Alaska's fishing vessels and packing houses. "This is a positive step. We would not want to set up something that is hasty or doomed to failure, or something that will provide a playground for lawyers filing lawsuits."

 

The commission has advocated weakening the authority of industry-dominated regional fishery management councils.  

 

The Committee on Ocean Policy will be made up of leaders and staff from 18 agencies and departments, including the EPA,  Interior, Commerce and NOAA .  It will also include the Defense Department's Joint Chiefs of Staff, and assistants to the president for National Security Affairs, Homeland Security and economic policy.

 

Bush signed an executive order December 17 empowering the committee to "coordinate the activities of executive departments and agencies regarding ocean-related matters in an integrated and effective manner to advance the environmental, economic and security interests of present and future generations of Americans."

 

Executive Order

www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/12/20041217-5.htm


Bush Administration Finalizes Rules for National Forest Management

WASHINGTON — Managers of the nation's 155 national forests will have more discretion to approve logging and other commercial projects without lengthy environmental reviews under a new Bush administration initiative. The long-awaited rules, announced December 22, overhaul application of the landmark 1976 National Forest Management Act, which sets guidelines for managing 191 million acres of national forests and grasslands and protecting wildlife there.

Forest Service Associate Chief Sally Collins said the new rules will allow forest managers to respond more quickly to changing conditions, such as wildfires, and emerging threats such as invasive species.

The complex forest management rules were last updated in the 1970s, and officials long have complained that detailed analyses required under the law take up to seven years to complete. Under the new rule, forest plan revisions could be completed within two to three years, officials said.

Environmentalists reacted with skepticism, saying the administration was catering to the timber and paper industries and weakening standards for protecting endangered or threatened species.  "The president's forest regulations are an early Christmas gift to the timber industry masquerading as a government streamlining measure," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

The new plan gives regional forest managers more discretion to approve logging, drilling and mining operations without having to conduct formal scientific investigations known as environmental impact statements.

Forest Service officials say the idea is to make forest planning more responsive to changing conditions by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and relying on assessments by local

and regional managers rather than one-size-fits-all federal requirements.

 

"We really have a process that takes way too long, that really isn't as responsive ... as it should be," Collins said.

But environmentalists say the plan eliminates analyses required under the National Environment Policy Act, scraps wildlife protections established under President Reagan and limits public input into forest management decisions.  "We can't imagine it's going to be satisfactory for replacement of the wildlife safeguards and public involvement that the public has enjoyed for the last 25 years," said Mike Anderson of The Wilderness Society.

 

The new approach could cut costs by as much as 30 percent, Collins said. She also noted the new rules require independent audits of all forest plans.  The audits, to be conducted in some cases by private firms and in others by federal employees, are based on standards frequently used by the timber industry to address environmental issues and ensure compliance with the law, Collins and others said.

Environmentalists said there is no evidence a corporate model will ensure accountability.

They also expressed concern that the plan relaxes a requirement to protect fish and wildlife in national forests so species do not become threatened or endangered. Instead, the rules assert an overarching goal to "maintain healthy, diverse and resilient" ecosystems and species native to forest lands.

Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry group, said the new rules are "a lot more responsive" than the current rules, which he called cumbersome and counterproductive.


Precedent-Setting Water Rights Decision over Endangered Species
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a precedent-setting decision, the federal government agreed to pay four California water districts $16.7 million for water the government diverted a decade ago to help two rare fish.

The settlement announced Tuesday could have implications across the West, where the government often clashes with property owners in attempts to save species on the brink of extinction.

The case stemmed from the government's efforts to protect endangered winter-run chinook salmon and threatened delta smelt between 1992 and 1994 by withholding billions of gallons from California farmers.

Court of Federal Claims Senior Judge John Wiese ruled in December 2003 that the government's halting of water constituted a "taking" or intrusion on the farmers' private property rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from taking private property without fair payment.

 

Environmental groups feared the ruling would force the government to pay millions of dollars each time it reserves water to help threatened wildlife.

Under the settlement -- between the Justice Department and several thousand farmers from five San Joaquin Valley water districts -- the water districts will get their legal costs on top of the market value of the water diverted by the government in 1992, 1993, and 1994.


Male Fish Growing Eggs Found in Potomac
SHARPSBURG, Md. — Male fish that are growing eggs have been found in the Potomac River near Sharpsburg, a sign that a little-understood type of pollution is spreading downstream from West Virginia, a federal scientist says.  The so-called intersex abnormality may be caused by pollutants from sewage plants, feedlots and factories that can interfere with animals' hormone systems, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Nine male smallmouth bass taken from the Potomac near Sharpsburg, about 60 miles upstream from Washington, were found to have developed eggs inside their sex organs, said Vicki S. Blazer, a scientist overseeing the research for the U.S. Geological Survey.

Authorities say the problems are likely related to a class of pollutants called endocrine disruptors, which short-circuit animals' natural systems of hormone chemical messages.  Officials are awaiting the results of water-quality testing that might point to a specific chemical behind the fish problems, Blazer said.

"It certainly indicates something's going on," Blazer said of the new findings in Maryland. "But what, we don't know."

The Potomac River is the main source of drinking water for the Washington metropolitan area and many upstream communities. It provides about 75 percent of the water supply to the 3.6 million residents of Washington and its Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

Blazer, who works at a federal fish lab in Leetown, W.Va., said she found the latest abnormalities last week while examining tissues from fish taken from the river near Sharpsburg.

The same symptoms had previously been found about 170 miles upstream, in the South Branch of the Potomac in Hardy County, W.Va. Blazer and other scientists discovered the problem there last year while investigating a rash of mass fish deaths. Endocrine disruptors comprise a vast universe of pollutants capable of driving a hormone system haywire.

Some are hormones themselves -- such as human estrogen from women taking birth-control pills or animal hormones washed downstream with manure -- that can pass through sewage plants untouched.

 

In Hardy County, officials were especially concerned about chicken waste from poultry farms.

Other endocrine disruptors are hormone "mimics" -- industrial chemicals or factory byproducts which confuse the body because they are chemically similar to natural hormones.

These pollutants are often found in very low concentrations, so until recently no equipment could detect them. But the first nationwide survey, in 1999 and 2000, found hormones in about 37 percent of streams tested.

 

Many scientists are concerned that people, as well as other animals, might be affected. "It's not good news that there's something that feminizes male fish in your water," said Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But the Environmental Protection Agency has not set standards for many of these pollutants. Because of this, many drinking-water plants make no special efforts to remove them. Authorities in West Virginia are investigating whether there is a link to higher rates of certain cancers in people there.

A recent survey of cancer in Hardy County, where some residents get drinking water from the South Branch, found rates of cancer of the liver, gallbladder, ovaries and uterus that were higher than the state average. All four cancers can in some cases grow faster in the presence of estrogen or chemicals that mimic it, cancer experts said.

"It is at least theoretically possible that those two concepts are worth thinking about side-by-side," said Alan Ducatman, chairman of the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University.

 


Kids All-American Fishing Derby

Young anglers from Indiana and Florida win awards

KETCHUM, Okla. - Two young anglers from Indiana and Florida have been named co-winners of the 2004 Fujifilm Big Fish Contest, part of the Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing Derby program.

 

Rusty Asberry, 13, of Newcastle, Indiana, was named the Freshwater Division winner with his catch of a 10-pound catfish in Indiana. Hannah Mink, 12, Kissimmee, Florida, won the Saltwater Division by catching a 38.3-pound Pacific halibut in Alaska. Asberry, a seventh grader at Knightstown Intermediate School, caught his catfish using a worm and dough-ball bait combination while fishing an event hosted by the Jay County Optimist Club of Newcastle.

 

Minks, a sixth grader at Central Florida Christian Academy, caught her halibut while fishing at a derby hosted by the U.S. Forest Service in the Tongass National Forest in Petersburg, Alaska. As winners, Asberry and Minks each earn a $500 U.S. Savings Bond and a special gift pack from Fujifilm, U.S.A.

 

Fujifilm is just one of numerous national sponsors of the huge fishing derby program, now in its eighteenth year, which annually holds more than 2,000 fishing events for almost

350,000 anglers in the U.S. and five foreign countries. Other 2004 sponsors include title sponsor Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., DMF Bait Co., Edy's Grand Ice Cream, PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer from GOJO Industries, Kraft Foods'Kool-Aid, Repel Insect Repellent from Spectrum Brands, BAND-AID® BRAND ADHESIVE BANDAGES, Bar-S Foods Co., Berkley Powerbait, Berkley Trilene, Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum, Eagle Claw, EverStart Batteries, FishingWorld. Com, Lake Fishing Tackle, Zebco, and Nestle Waters North America, which markets the natural spring water brands of Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring, Zephyrhills, and Nestle Pure Life.

 

The program is coordinated by Hooked on Fishing International (HOFI), Tulsa, Okla. but the events themselves are organized and staffed by adult volunteer groups who apply to HOFI for a derby kit including everything from instructions to prizes. Types of agencies hosting events include parks and recreation departments, federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, service organizations, scouting groups, angling clubs, and 4-H groups. The materials are provided free of charge to the approved organizations. Information and registration is available through the program's web site located at http://www.kids-fishing.com.


Regional

Help protect the Great Lakes

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

 

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)      Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)      Improve or operate Barrier I

3)      Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  We still need $600,000 to keep this program alive, and we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

           

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps ofEngineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

 

The Second Barrier        

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and after a year of false starts construction is now scheduled to begin next week and completed by April 2005. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake still exceeds the available funds by $600,000. We need more funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

                     

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

           

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

           

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if absolutely necessary, for operating expenses of the barrier.

 

 

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp


Luring Ruffe with Smell
Sea Grant-funded researchers at the University of Minnesota have provided the first insight into the reproductive hormones and pheromones of Eurasian Ruffe, opening a potential means of managing this invasive fish using pheromonal attractants. Pheromones are chemical compounds produced by an animal that influence the behavior or development of other members of the same species.

After four years of laboratory investigation, Peter Sorensen, professor of fisheries, wildlife, and conservation biology, and his colleagues found that the urine of female Ruffe approaching ovulation contains a pheromone, 20b-S, which influences the behavior of male Ruffe.

20b-S is short for 4-pregnen-17,20b,21-triol-3-one, a steroid that stimulates egg production and helps trigger male passion. The discovery of how 20b-S affects reproduction may also apply to walleye and perch, relatives of the Ruffe.

The study, published this October in General and Comparative Endocrinology, found that 20b-S surges through female Ruffe just prior to ovulation and that the urine of pre-ovulatory females provoked three- to five-fold increases in male swimming activity and increased the amount of nudging (what might pass for kissing). Injecting female Ruffe with 20b-S produced similar male responses.

"I've been studying pheromones for 20 years, and this one is unusual," said Sorensen. "It's different because it's related to

a maturation-inducing steroid, it drives a behavioral response,
and it operates prior to spawning. It is also the first time that the sex steroid 20b-S has been associated with pheromonal communication in fish.  Likely it is associated with pre-spawning aggregation in this species."
 

Although the field of knowledge about Ruffe pheromones is in its infancy, Sorensen's research is making critical steps that could advance fisheries management. With previous projects, Sorensen and his colleagues discovered an alarm pheromone that radiates from the skin of a wounded Ruffe. Alarm pheromones scare off members of the same species. Sex pheromones do the opposite. Conceivably, Ruffe could be managed in places like the Duluth Superior Harbor using combinations of pheromonal repellants and lures. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 4.4 million Ruffe spawned in the harbor last spring.

Sorensen is enthusiastic about the next step, should this line of research receive more funding. "It's like a needle in the haystack," said Sorensen. "We've determined that the needle exists and have a very good idea of what it looks like, but now we've got to locate it and make copies. Eventually, we might be able to apply it, thereby inventing new, non-toxic, species-specific ways to manage these invasive fishes in the Great Lakes."

Sorensen is also investigating pheromones in goldfish, carp, and lamprey.


All-Canada Show to be held in 11 Great Midwest Cities in 2005

The 2005 All-Canada Show circuit will travel to 11 markets:  Minneapolis, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Omaha.

 

One of the highlights of the circuit is the traveling exhibit "Locked at Lac Seul."  This exhibit is a first of its kind.  It consists of two mounted life-sized trophy moose with horns locked in a "duel to the death." All-Canada obtained the locked horns, both with over a 55-inch spread, and in near perfect condition, found near Lac Seul, Ontario.

           

In 2003, All-Canada commissioned nationally renown artist Anthony Padgett to do an original three-part painting depicting two moose meeting, fighting and all that remained from their efforts:  a set of locked horns. In 2004, All-Canada partnered with Hawkins Taxidermists, Winnipeg, Manitoba. one of North America's leading taxidermies, to build the life-sized exhibit.  The project has taken the better part of the year.

           

‘Locked at Lac Seul’ presented by Cabela’s will be on display at all 11 shows.  Show guests will have the opportunity to purchase framed signed and numbered prints of the original at any 2005 show.  Anthony Padgett will be attending all of the 11 shows, and he will be conducting daily seminars on traveling to Canada from an artist’s perspective.

           

All show guests may register for a fantastic moose hunting trip for two people, including airfare from Chicago to Thunderchild Lodge in northern Saskatchewan.

Other Attractions include:

Norm McCreight, an icon at the All-Canada Show, will host the In-Fisherman main stage with other seminar hosts to be announced.  Seminar schedules will be posted on the web site:  www.AllCanada.com.

           

Grand prize at all 11 shows is a 17' MirroCraft boat, 90 hp Mercury motor and matching trailer. First prize at each show is a minimum four-day American plan trip for two to a Canadian lodge including lodging, food, boat, motor, gas, guide and tax (or equivalent).

 

Attractions include a Travel Centre, fishing and hunting simulators, Wolf River Lodge, Little Fort Canada, the Moose Bay Trading Co., a Canadian shore lunch

 

Date City, State Location

Jan. 7-9, 2005 Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis Convention Center

Jan. 13-16, 2005 Chicago, IL Pheasant Run

Jan. 17-19, 2005 Grand Rapids, MI The Delta Plex

Jan 21-23, 2005 Milwaukee, WI Wisconsin State Fair Park

Jan. 24-26, 2005 Madison, WI MARRIOTT MADISON WEST

Jan. 27-30, 2005 Green Bay, WI ShopKo Hall

Feb. 1-3, 2005 Cleveland, OH Holiday Inn Express & Suites La Malfa Centre

Feb. 4-6, 2005 Cincinnati, OH Roberts Convention Centre

Feb. 7-9, 2005 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis Convention Center

Feb. 11-13, 2005 St. Louis, MO Wentzville Crossings Exposition & Convention Center

Feb. 15-17, 2005 Omaha, NE Holiday Inn Convention Centre


Building a Better Fish Using Embryonic Stem Cells
 
In the world of medicine, research on embryonic stem cells offers the possibility of curing fatal and debilitating diseases. In the world of aquaculture, embryonic stem cell research may enhance production and reduce environmental risks.
 
With funding from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, a team of Purdue University scientists have developed fish embryonic stem cell lines that can potentially be used to modify the genetic characteristics of any fish species. Paul Collodi and his team established these cultured cells from zebrafish that can form viable eggs or sperm when transplanted into an embryo. The cells may be used in the future to introduce specific alterations into the fish chromosomes.
 
One of the ultimate goals of this research is to use these cell lines to grow fish that are lacking the hormone necessary for fertility (which can be reversed by adding the hormone to the fish’s diet). Controlling fertility in aquaculture production offers a way to reduce the threat of non-native species escaping and disrupting the balance of local waterways. A prime example of an invasive species escaping from aquaculture production is Asian carp. These fish have moved up the Mississippi River and pose a threat to the Great Lakes.
 
“If this technology is successful, it also offers many possibilities of enhancing aquaculture production through the manipulation of specific desirable genes. In an aquaculture setting, we may be able to control growth, disease, and reproduction rates, or change species characteristics and improve survival capabilities,” said Collodi. “Zebrafish possess a number of characteristics that make them ideal for developing this technology, including that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain in the laboratory, but once we successfully develop gene-transfer methods, they will be applied to commercially important species.”

“This work may also have implications for research into the genetic basis for human disease and the development of new drugs,” said Collodi. “We are doing very basic research into gene function during embryonic development, which may offer insight into developmental abnormalities and help pinpoint which genes play a role in disease.”

 

This project has involved a series of difficult steps. First, the scientists developed a technique to grow zebrafish embryonic cells in a culture dish long enough to be practical for genetic research. Stem cells have the ability to develop into any kind of tissue, which makes them particularly useful for introducing genetic alterations. For example, it is critical that when these cells are transplanted into a host embryo, they have the ability to differentiate into sperm or egg, providing the means to pass on the altered trait.

 

The next step was to make specific genetic alterations in embryonic stem cells and to isolate these altered cells in a culture dish. The researchers used a red fluorescent protein gene as a way of identifying these cells. Now Collodi’s team is working to transfer the selected cells that carry the genetic alteration back into an embryo to produce fish with the altered trait. “We are using pigmentation pattern to determine if the embryonic stem cells contributed to the germ line of the host embryo and the genetic alteration was transferred to the next generation,” he said.
 
Collodi now has funding from the USDA and the National Institute of Health to continue this work. “The initial support from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant allowed our lab to generate this promising data that has led to much larger funding opportunities,” he added.

 

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 31, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 3 to 10 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 9 inches below its level of a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron remain below their long-term averages by 4 and 12 inches, respectively. Lakes St. Clair, Ontario and Erie are above their long-term averages by 2, 2 and 1 inch, respectively. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was near average during the month of December.  Flow in the St. Clair River was below average and the Detroit and Niagara River flows were near average in December. The St. Lawrence River flow was above average for the month of December.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Look for quiet weather on New Year’s Day across the Great Lakes basin, before a storm system pushes into the region for

Sunday.  The possibility for significant icing exists with this storm.  Cold temperatures are forecasted to return early next week.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

Lake Superior, Michigan-Huron and Erie are in their seasonal declines and the levels are expected to fall 3, 1 and 1 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lake Ontario is nearing its seasonal low and levels are expected to remain fairly constant over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is ending its seasonal decline, but due to runoff from snow melting, the level has risen 4 to 5 inches in the last week.  It is expected to return to its seasonal low over the next month.

 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.


General

U.S. Power Squadrons to Teach Boating Safety at Eastern Sports Show

HARRISBURG, PA-The U.S. Power Squadrons, celebrating their 90th year of promoting safe boating through education, will be teaching boating safety at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, February 5-13, at the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA.

 

Organized in 1914, USPS is a non profit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects.   “Our members are boating families who contribute to their communities by promoting safe boating through education. We enjoy participating with our fellow

members on the water and in the classroom,” says Kay Simkins, Administrative Officer for District 5 of USPS with the rank of D/Lt/C.

 

The USPS will be conducting exhibitions/demonstrations on hypothermia, fitting life jackets on kids, types of life jackets for different water-related activities, and more.

 

SeaVester, a talking robot mascot will be at the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show to teach children about water safety.  The USPS will also be working with at least one marine dealer exhibitor demonstrating Vessel Safety Checks on various kinds


Phishers change bait for trolling the Internet
Online thieves are using new bait for phishing expeditions
Scammers, who send out e-mails using the names of real banks and retailers to lure you into supplying personal information, are employing a new plea. They request information such as your credit card and personal information numbers to combat a software update glitch they claim has wiped out their records.

The messages warn that your account will be suspended if you do not log in. Phishers provide a link to the page where you're supposed to plug in the information.  Of course, the whole thing is a fraud, in spite of the cleverly disguised logos and quasi-official language. Fall for the scam, and your money will disappear. The bottom line: Steer clear of online solicitations for personal information.


Missouri Boaters to be required to take boater Safety Course to operate boat

Jefferson City, Mo - Boaters from surrounding states have only one year left to take a boater safety education course if they wish to operate a boat on Missouri Lakes. 

 

A new law passed in Missouri will require boaters, born after January 1, 1984, to successfully complete a boater education course prior to operating a vessel on the lakes of the state. The new law affects Missouri residents beginning January 2005; however, out-of-state boaters visiting Missouri will have until January 2006 to comply with the new requirement. Boat operators successfully completing the Missouri course will be required to carry a boater certification card with them while they are operating a vessel.

 

The new law does not apply to the following:

* A person holding a valid master's, mate's, or operator's license issued by the United States Coast Guard.

* A person who operates a vessel only on a private lake or pond that is not classified as waters of the state.

* A person who is participating in an event or regatta approved by the Missouri State Water Patrol.

* A person who is a nonresident who has proof of a valid boating certificate or license issued by another state if the boating course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

* A person who is currently serving in any branch of the United States Armed Forces, Reserves, or Missouri National Guard, or any spouse of a person currently in such service.

* A person who has successfully completed a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating

 

Law Administrators (NASBLA). There are several opportunities for boaters to take a boater education course. The Missouri State Water Patrol provides courses throughout the state and boaters can locate and sign up for an approved course on the Water Patrol's web site. Also available on the Missouri State Water Patrol's web site (www.mswp.dps.mo.gov) are links to an internet course and instructions for ordering a home study course. For out-of-state boaters wanting to rent a vessel, boat rental companies will provide a temporary boating certification examination. Out-of-state boaters passing the examination will be issued a one-time temporary permit that will allow them to operate a rental vessel for up to thirty days.


2nd Amendment issues

U.S. Dept of Justice affirms Second Amendment as an Individual Right

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

 

The clearest and most comprehensive statement ever made by the Executive Branch on the true meaning of the Second Amendment was recently released by the Justice Department.  In a memorandum posted on their web site December 17, 2004, the Justice Department concludes without reservation that "the Second Amendment secures a personal right of individuals, not a collective right that may only be invoked by a State or a quasi-collective right restricted to persons serving in organized militia units."

 

The opinion does not address the constitutionality of particular laws placing limits on the possession, carrying, or use of firearms.  It does note that certain classes of people (felons, those addicted to drugs or alcohol) can be prohibited from owning firearms and that certain types of firearms can be  

regulated.

 

This memo, for its excellent research, adds much to Second Amendment scholarship.  But its major impact will be on the courts — and the Department itself.

 

The memo calls current judicial opinions an "unsettled legal landscape," where no theory holds firm.  Stephen Halbrook, respected Second Amendment litigator and historian, says of the memorandum, "It is a highly credible message to the courts, for it exhibits a depth of understanding about the Second Amendment that few jurists have ever attained, and should be persuasive in future decisions."

 

The Department of Justice defends federal firearms laws.  When it comes to interpreting the Second Amendment, it has flip-flopped.  According to Mr. Halbrook, this monumental opinion "promises to keep the Department on the high road, for it is irrefutable in its analysis and its history."  For gun owners now, and in the future, this is great news.


Doctors Kill More People a Year Than Guns
By Nathan Tabor MichNews.com     

Back before the November election, many mainstream media pundits -- trying desperately to get John Kerry elected -- began to harp on President Bush’s unwillingness to stop certain federal gun control laws from expiring as scheduled. But their propaganda efforts came to naught because this issue was a non-starter with the American people.

           

The fact is, in this day of post-911 increased security consciousness, most average Americans simply don’t want more gun control. They want more guns on hand to defend themselves and their loved ones in the face of possible life-threatening danger. Soccer moms are now taking handgun proficiency courses down at the local firing range.

 

Liberals are always complaining about getting to the root of the problem -- unless it deals with gun rights. Then they abandon all logical analysis and resort to hysteria, distortion and downright lies.

 

Today I want to set the record straight and dispel a few of the more common myths with some hard facts. First, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, there is an interesting correlation between accidental deaths caused by guns and by doctors.

 

Doctors: (A) There are 700,000 physicians in the U.S. (B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians total 120,000 per year. (C) Accidental death percentage is 0.171 per physician.

 

Guns: (A) There are 80 million gun owners in the U.S. (B) There are 1,500 accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups. (C) The percentage of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.0000188.

 

Statistically, then, doctors are 9,000 times more dangerous to the public health than gun owners. Fact: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR. Following the logic of liberals, we should all be warned: "Guns don't kill people. Doctors do."

 

More seriously, Dr. Glen Otero of the Claremont Institute has published an enlightening article entitled “Ten Myths About Gun Control.” (This entire article can be found at the website of Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws, http://www.dsgl.org.) Here are just a few of his well-documented findings.

 

  • Approximately 80 percent of all adult American citizens own firearms, and a gun can be found in nearly half of

             American households.

 

  • Between 1974 and 1995, the total number of privately owned firearms in America increased by 75, to 236 million. During the same period, national homicide and robbery rates did NOT significantly increase.

  • Less than 1 percent of all guns are involved in any type of crime, which means that 99 percent of all guns are NOT used to commit any crime.

  • In 1987, the National Crime Victimization Survey estimated that about 83 percent of Americans would become the victims of violent crime during the course of their lifetime.

  • The National Self-Defense Survey found that between 1988 and 1993, American civilians used firearms in self-defense almost 2.5 million times per year, saving up to 400,000 lives per year in the process.

  • Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens deter crime. Where U.S. counties have enacted concealed-carry laws, murder rates fell by 8 percent, rape by 5 percent, and aggravated assault by 7 percent. Urban counties recorded the largest decreases demographically.

You get the picture: Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. But sometimes law-abiding citizens with guns can save the lives of other innocent people.

 

 

It’s time to restore some common sense to the hysterical debate over gun control. When Cain killed Abel with a rock, God didn’t ban all rocks. He dealt with Cain personally. We need to enforce our criminal laws against murder, robbery, and assault.

 

I will cite the testimony of just one more expert witness. No, it’s not another politician or media pundit. Here’s what former Mafia underboss, self-confessed hit man, and government informant Sammy “The Bull” Gravano had to say:

 

“Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.”

 

It’s time for Liberals to go out and buy a gun. And maybe get a life or at least protect one.


New York

E. Lake Ontario walleye project moves ahead

Coalition of anglers, congressmen, legislators, DEC biologists making things happen

A coalition of anglers, congressmen, legislators and DEC biologists is going to manage the state hatchery at Cape Vincent, New York this year; working in conjunction with the State DEC and the NYS College of Science and Forestry.

   

They have been several years in preparation for this project and with the help of the NYSDEC, State Senator Jim Wright and Assemblymen Daryl Aubertine, they will open the hatchery next Spring to raise walleye that will be released in the Eastern Basin of Lake Ontario.

This effort has been made possible by the village of Cape Vincent who have provided village maintenance personnel for repairs to the thirteen  one acre ponds, Mr. Richard "Rip" Colesante, retired DEC walleye specialist, who has and continues to provide specific direction and advice on equipment, process and procedures. As well as, DEC personnel at the Cape Vincent station who have a genuine interest in assuring that the project succeeds.

   

“It is one of those projects that requires the commitment of a large number of people and it has been exciting to watch the events unfold, says Coalition Chairman Frank Cean. “Wish us luck, and we w ill keep you informed”


 

Pennsylvania

Fishing licenses now on sale

The start of a new calendar year means it’s also time for a new fishing license.  Pennsylvania fishing licenses went on sale January 1.

 

Pennsylvania fishing licenses can be purchased at any of 1,500 issuing agents across the state or via the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.  Issuing agents include bait and tackle shops and the sporting goods departments of many major department stores.

 

Anglers 16 years of age or older need to have a valid fishing license signed in ink in order to fish the waters of the Commonwealth.  Additional permits may also be required, such as a trout stamp for those fishing for trout or a newly created Lake Erie permit for anglers fishing in Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay or their tributaries.  A combination Lake Erie/Trout Stamp is also available.

 

The annual licenses and permits will be valid through 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2005 – making them a tremendous buy for your recreational dollar.  One-day, three-day and seven-day licenses represent an equal value for the angler seeking to

fish for a limited time.  License types and fees for 2005 are as follows:

 

Fishing Licenses*

License Category

Price

Resident (annual)

$ 21

Nonresident (annual)

$51

Resident Senior (annual)

$10

Resident Senior Lifetime (65 years of age and older)

$50

7-Day Tourist

$33

3-Day Tourist

$25

1-Day Resident (Not valid April 1 through April 30)

$10

Trout/Salmon Stamp

$8

Lake Erie Permit

$8

Combination Trout-Salmon/Lake Erie Permit

$14

*Issuing Agent Fee (per each license, stamp or permit issued)

$1


Wisconsin

State action urged for gun law

Legislators must implement U.S. measure on concealed arms, Lautenschlager says

By JOHN DIEDRICH journalsentinel.com  Dec. 27, 2004

Retired police officers, game wardens and others in Wisconsin who want to carry concealed guns under a new federal law would have to wait for state lawmakers to act, under a recommendation from the state attorney general.

 

In a letter to the Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle, Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager says the 6-month-old law poses problems involving identification, training, costs and liability. All those issues would require changes in state law, she says.  For months, Lautenschlager's office has been studying how the law, which President Bush signed in July, will be applied to Wisconsin's law enforcement agencies and thousands of retired officers.

 

The president of Milwaukee's largest police union said he will lobby legislative leaders to send the issue back to Lautenschlager's office for action. He noted that he might take the issue to court if implementation of the law gets held up.

 

"What you have is the AG's office throwing the ball into the Legislature's court and saying, 'You deal with this federal law,' " said Bradley DeBraska, president of the Milwaukee Police Association.  Lautenschlager says there is nothing to stop local police agencies from implementing the law on their own. But state officials said they didn't know of any that are doing it, pending guidance from the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Standards Board.

 

That board, which falls under Lautenschlager's office, doesn't have the power to set up the training and make other moves needed to implement the law statewide, Lautenschlager says in a memo sent Nov. 17 to legislators and Doyle.  "I have concluded that state legislative action is needed before the act can be effectively implemented here," she writes.

 

Retired officers already could carry concealed weapons in other states that had laws allowing them to do so. But in Wisconsin and three other states that prohibited concealed weapons, the new federal law trumps state statutes.  This year, Doyle vetoed a bill that would have allowed

Wisconsinites to carry concealed weapons.

 

The state's largest police union, which also supported the federal law, sees the need for the Legislature to act.  "As it proceeded in Congress, these same questions were apparent to us," said Jim Palmer, lobbyist for the Wisconsin Professional Police Association. "There are a number of steps that need to be taken."

 

The federal law says active police officers may carry concealed weapons if their departments allow them to carry a weapon, if they have arrest powers, and if they are not the subjects of any discipline.

 

Retired officers must have been on duty at least 15 years; retired in "good standing" for a reason other than mental instability; be eligible for their departments' retirement plans; meet agency or the state's training requirement each year; and not be barred from carrying a gun under federal law.

 

The new law does not require a background check or disclosure of medical records. There is no age limit and no uniform ID.

 

The primary problem with implementing the law is that there is no uniform training standard for Wisconsin police agencies, Lautenschlager says. Even if there was one, it wouldn't be appropriate for retired officers, she says.  She says the board isn't authorized to set fees for training. Also, the federal law could create liability concerns for agencies that issue permits, she says.  Finally, she says, there is no database or other way to check whether someone is allowed to carry a concealed weapon.

 

Lautenschlager recommends that the Legislature pass a law allowing the board to set a training standard for active and retired officers and to set fees.

 

Mike Roberts, administrator of Law Enforcement Services in Lautenschlager's office, said: "What we really need is a law authorizing some entity to set the standard. The attorney general is saying, 'If you want this implemented, you need to act.' "


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