Sporting groups back Obama climate rule

Sporting groups spoke out Thursday in support of President Obama's carbon pollution rules for existing power plants, calling for more action on climate change. 

The letter, signed by national, state, and local sporting groups, presses for cleaner air standards, giving a full-throated endorsement of the administration's regulations to curb pollution.

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"As hunters and anglers, we see first-hand how climate change is altering habitat and putting our outdoor heritage at risk,” the letter states.

The groups backing the letter, which include Trout Unlimited, the Bull Moose Sportsmen's Alliance, Minnesota Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and more, represent millions of outdoor enthusiasts.

The National Wildlife Federation, which circulated the letter, counted local chapters of national sporting groups to argue the letter was signed by 325 different groups. The overall number of groups on the letter appears to be lower, as many of the signatories are individuals and chapters of national groups.

“We agree that more can and should be done to update our clean air standards to address carbon pollution from major sources including new and existing power plants," the letter states.

"America’s hunters, anglers, and the $90 billion a year industry that supports them encourage long overdue action to address climate change and preserve America’s conservation legacy," it adds. 
The letter says record temperatures, increased drought and the spread of parasites are worrisome for hunters and anglers.

The wildlife federation also said warmer water and severe drought has hurt fish species such as the brook trout and Chinook salmon. 

The controversial rules on existing and new power plants have received scrutiny from Republicans and industry leaders, who charge that the administration is waging a "war on coal" with regulations that will bankrupt the industry.

Both rules are set to be finalized next year. The Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking comments on the proposal for existing power plants through Dec. 1.

— This story was updated at 2:27 p.m.