Poll: Hunters and Anglers Overwhelmingly Support Gulf Clean-up

Sportsmen and women want fines from 2010 gulf oil disaster used to restore critical coastal ecosystems.

This was originally posted on VanishingParadise.org.

A new national poll released yesterday shows that hunters and anglers prioritize protecting the gulf ecosystem and using fines paid by BP and other parties responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster to be used for gulf restoration. The poll conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting shows threats to America’s conservation heritage are priority issues for sportsmen and women, on par with gun rights.

An overwhelming 81 percent of sportsmen polled strongly believe BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 gulf oil disaster.

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The poll’s results further support the RESTORE Act, an important piece of bipartisan, bicameral legislation passed earlier this year that dedicates 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines collected from BP and other responsible parties to restoring the Gulf Coast.

“America’s sportsmen and women understand the importance the entire Gulf Coast has for our nation’s hunting and fishing heritage,” said Land Tawney, National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership. “From the 10 million migratory waterfowl that use the marshes around the Mississippi River Delta for wintering grounds to the extremely important fisheries of the gulf, this is a region that matters to the entire nation.”

The gulf ecosystem suffered from rapid decline before the oil spill, which only exacerbated existing land loss issues, especially around the Mississippi River Delta. Although much of the visible oil is gone, some of the tar balls and tar mats stirred up by last month’s Hurricane Isaac were identified as remnants from the 2010 gulf spill. The region remains in jeopardy as food supplies and habitats are still recovering from the impacts of oil — and may face impacts from the spill for decades.

“Restoring the gulf is crucial to the safekeeping of our American conservation traditions,” Tawney continued. “This poll ultimately validates what so many individuals, organizations and businesses have been calling for since the summer of 2010 — that the gulf’s fish and wildlife habitats must be made whole and preserved for our future generations’ use and enjoyment.”

Read the poll memo and slide deck at nwf.org/sportsmen and get more National Wildlife Federation news at nwf.org/news.

Poll background:

This national public opinion poll conducted among 800 self-identified hunters and anglers was conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting from August 27 through September 1, 2012 for the National Wildlife Federation. The sample for this survey was randomly drawn from a list of self-identified hunters and anglers. To qualify, a respondent must have indicated they were a hunter, an angler or both, as well as a registered voter. All interviews were conducted by telephone, including 15 percent of the interviews by cell phone. The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 3.2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.