The Senate's first order of business: Polar bear carcasses

Congress officially reconvened for the lame-duck on Tuesday, but I’m only mentioning this bill because, 1) it’s just so gloriously, headdesk-ishly appropriate that while we teeter in the breeze on the edge of the fiscal cliff, the U.S. Senate’s first accomplishment has to do with that noble symbol of eco-progressivism, the polar bear; and 2) because, on second glance, the gist of the legislation actually sounds pretty great — it at least seems like a solid win for both outdoorsmen specifically and fans of common sense everywhere. Just checking off the items we can all agree upon first, I suppose, before getting down to the ugly fiscal stuff. Via the AP:

In its first roll call since September, the Senate voted 92-5 on Tuesday to debate a bill to ease restrictions on hunters and fishermen and allow 41 U.S. hunters to bring home polar bear carcasses trapped in Canada due to a ban on trophy imports. …

The idea was that the bill would pass easily postelection. Reid said it was “one of the most popular bills” the Senate had considered in the last session. …

Tester’s bill combines 19 measures favorable to outdoorsmen. In addition to dealing with the polar bear hides, it would allow more hunting and fishing on federal lands, let bow hunters cross federal land where hunting isn’t allowed, encourage federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain shooting ranges, exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead, boost fish populations and protect animal habitat. A similar bill passed in the House earlier this year.

A ban on bringing in polar bears legally offed by hunters up north, presumably to deter hunters from bothering to go north and hunt polar bears at all? Three guesses who thought up that genius bit of top-down virtue that the federal government has no business imposing. (Polar bears are doing just fine, by the way, and the Endangered Species Act is one of radical environmentalists’ most effective tools for prohibiting productive land use by designating areas as untouchable wilderness.)

The legislation has the support of the NRA, and fewer regulations and hurdles for sportsmen — who are the greatest conservationists you will ever meet, I might add — that simultaneously rain on the over-controlling parade of the enviro-bureaucracy’s many regulations (although they may actually get a few other ones out of this, ugh), is a small but solid step in the right direction.