Tom Cotton

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton on Friday applauded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to not include Bradley County in the expansion of the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge.

“The decision to exclude Bradley County from the expansion of Felsenthal National Wildlife refuge is a victory for private landowners and sportsmen,” Cotton said in a Friday news release. “I support the important protections National Wildlife refuges provide, but in this instance there was no scientific evidence to support the inclusion of Bradley County. Further, the affected community was not initially offered a convenient opportunity to express their concerns or opposition—a dangerous precedent to establish. I am pleased the FWS reversed their decision and that private landowners in Bradley County will continue to care for their land as they have for generations.”

In April of 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed an expansion of National Wildlife Refuge, adding an additional 50,459 acres, including the Beryl Anthony WMA and parts of Union, Bradley, and Ashley counties.

Cotton said he asked FWS hold an additional hearing in Warren in order to incorporate feedback from individuals in Bradley County who were impacted. The FWS did on April 9, 2013.

In response to a review of the proposal, Cotton submitted remarks expressing his concern on April 22, 2013, encouraging FWS to revise the proposed boundaries in Bradley County. A copy of the letter can be found here.