Madam Speaker, I assume my friend across the way is referring to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, which we changed to the Navigation Protection Act. One of the reasons we made that change was that a judge ruled that little trickles of water were now navigable and caused greater consternation for local communities.
With respect to this, the word “protection” needs to be defined. There is “protected” and there is “conserved”.
I will use the example of my own farm where 320 acres of it is under a conservation easement, which means that the land will remain wild in perpetuity. However, I still hunt on my land, cut firewood there, enjoy my trails and I trap. Therefore, is that land considered protected? I would certainly say so.
The goal of any kind of conservation program has to be the protection of ecological processes. Drawing artificial lines around a piece of land does not fulfill the goal. Working with people who farm, fish, hunt and trap and know the land and can aid in the conservation of wide areas of land to preserve ecological processes is the way to go.