Reporting Results of LPC's Research to the Legislature
The results of the Loon Preservation Committee’s research are increasingly being used to direct conservation activities and legislation to benefit wildlife and their habitats. LPC is not an advocacy organization, but LPC staff has presented findings of our cooperative research to the New Hampshire Legislature to encourage informed discussion of many bills that directly impact loons and other wildlife. Examples include first-in-the-nation legislation to restrict the use of small lead sinkers and jigs on lakes and ponds within New Hampshire, and follow-up legislation to extend this ban to all freshwaters in New Hampshire in 2005, and to restrict the sale of this same tackle as of January 1st of 2006. Senate Bill 89 (SB 89), which restricts the sale and freshwater use of lead fishing sinkers and jigs weighing one ounce or less, was signed into law by Governor Hassan in the summer of 2013 and will go into effect on June 1, 2016. New Hampshire’s efforts have prompted legislation restricting the sale or use of lead tackle in Maine, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.
LPC’s data have also been a driving force behind landmark legislation to reduce mercury and other contaminants from coal-fired power plants; to reduce and eventually eliminate mercury in household batteries; and to reduce mercury in packaging. The success of these bills is evidence that research being done by the Loon Preservation Committee and other environmental organizations is encouraging a conservation ethic in our legislature.
Education to convince people of the worth of loons and a healthy environment are logical endpoints for the work that our dedicated volunteers and staff have carried out these past 38 years. The more we can encourage these connections between wildlife, the public, and our legislators, the greater the chance that the data LPC is collecting has its desired end of helping to fledge a new worldview - one that values a healthy Earth and all of its communities. That change, when it happens, will be a true measure of our success as a socially and environmentally advanced society.