Dani Dagan

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posted in: General

January 26, 2017

Where We Go to Geek Out About Conservation News

If you devour anything related to conservation policy, consider this your well-rounded media diet

Staying on top of conservation policy developments in D.C. and beyond is essential to what we do—and we really geek out about it so that we can get the most important news into your hands via Facebook, Twitter, and our blog. But, for those of you who want to go straight to our most trusted sources—and in some cases go way, way down the rabbit hole—we’ve put together a handy shortlist.

For each source of news, the medium might vary. “Twitter is a great place to get the news from decision makers,” says, Joel Webster, our director of Western lands. “Facebook is a great place to get the news from your friends and sporting groups. The content is usually different between the two.”

So here’s what we read, and how we read it, in order to share the breaking news that matters to sportsmen and women.

Policy Makers, Shakers, and Implementers

Social media gives you the chance to peek behind the curtain and watch decision makers in action.

Follow your representatives on Facebook and Twitter for a direct line to lawmakers. This allows you to watch for positions they’re taking and hold them accountable. If you don’t already know who speaks for you in Capitol Hill, look up your U.S. House and Senate reps. Then, you can dig deeper by following members of your state’s legislature. Identify members here, or by googling your state.

Track congressional floor proceedings on Twitter over at @HouseFloor, @SenateFloor, and @SenateCloakroom. This is where you’ll find out what’s happening as it’s happening—including speeches, votes, and other motions that could affect habitat and access.

Read about what’s brewing in administrative agencies by following the agencies directly on social media. Hint: Public lands agencies usually share killer photos.

Brumidi Corridors in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol Buildling. Image courtesy of Architect of the Capitol.
Breaking News

Twitter is also where journalists live. Follow them over at the Bird for bite-sized news and links to the articles they’re writing or recommending.

See what the journalists covering Congress are tracking by following @burgessev (Burgess Everett, Politico), @ChadPergram (Chad Pergram, Fox News), @HouseInSession (Billy House, Bloomberg News), @seungminkim (Seung Min Kim, Politico), and @jackfitzdc (Jack Fitzpatrick, Morning Consult.)

For agriculture and private land conservation policy news, @ChrisClaytonDTN (Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy), @hagstromreport (Jerry Hagstrom, The Hagstrom Report), @agripulse (AgriPulse), @Morning_Ag (Politico), and @FarmPolicy (Keith Good, farmdoc) are great resources.

For insightful environmental news coming out of the Gulf, follow @BenHRaines (Ben H. Raines, AL.com), @tmassonFISH (Todd Masson, NOLA), and others on Twitter.

Publications in Your Hands and on Your Screen

Each day, our government relations director Steve Kline reads three actual, physical newspapers by turning actual pages just like our forefathers did. Center for Agriculture and Private Lands Director Ariel Wiegard, on the other hand, starts her day online.

Here are some ideas to get you started curating a customized online news aggregator with an RSS feed (Feedly is a good example). Add the individual publications, columns, or blogs you like to streamline your reading list.

  • The environment pages for your regional paper and a national publication like the Washington Post.
  • Political rags, like Morning Consult, Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call. These are great if you want to take a deep dive into what’s happening on Capitol Hill, and they all have sections on energy, environment, and/or agriculture. And for the Westerners: High Country News and WyoFile provide some solid political reporting.
  • Your favorite hunting and fishing magazines. We like the relatable voices on Field & Stream’s Conservationist blog, Outdoor Life’s Open Country, and Fly Rod and Reel’s conservation column, for example.
  • Private land conservation news coming out of local outlets on this list.
  • Gulf coast news (and some how-to fishing stories) in NOLA’s outdoors section.

If you just want to browse the headlines, follow @EENewsUpdates on Twitter. This in-depth environment and energy publication is behind a pretty expensive paywall, but you’ll get a glimpse of what’s trending (so you can google the rest.) Almost everyone in the conservation community starts their day with E&E updates.

Image courtesy of Tony Rocheford/USFWS Midwest.
Your Fellow Sportsmen and Women

A good place to start learning about major issues is with those who share your interests. We like:

  • The Hunt Talk forum, which is broken down by topic. You might want to start in the “hot topics” section.
  • There are a couple of big-name hunters in the trenches with us. They’re working to get the word out on the significant issues facing sportsmen and women. Steven Rinella’s social media channels are an excellent resource. Search for him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @stevenrinella. Similarly, find Randy Newberg on Facebook and Twitter at @randynewberg.
  • Op-eds often feature local perspectives on issues important to sportsmen and women. Keep an eye on the opinion section in your local newspaper for conservation-related topics.
  • Sportsmen’s groups hard at work filtering all of this news for you. Check out our partner page, and give those groups a follow on your favorite social media channels or sign up for their newsletters.

With a little digging, careful selection, and a few cool internet tools, you can construct a perfectly custom-built system to get nerdy about conservation.

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Julia Peebles

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posted in: General

January 23, 2017

Glassing the Hill: January 23 – 27

The Senate will be in session all week, while the House will recess on Wednesday to attend the congressional Republicans’ annual retreat in Philadelphia, Penn.

Lawmakers tinker with Obama-era regulations

Before January ends, the House is expected to block some regulations by utilizing the Congressional Review Act, which would allow Congress to debate controversial regulations that were introduced after May 16, 2016. The Stream Protection Rule, which would limit coal mining near waterways, and the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane and Waste Reduction Rule, which would reduce natural gas waste on public lands, could be on the chopping block. The CRA requires a simple majority to halt regulations, which Republicans in the Senate currently have at 52-48.

The Trump administration issued a government-wide freeze on unfinished rules and regulations held over from the waning days of the Obama administration. Freezing regulations is not an uncommon practice for newly elected presidents. In 2009, the Obama administration issued a similar memorandum soon after taking office.

Cabinet appointments begin to get locked in

Following confirmations of the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Homeland Security, the Senate will continue to consider President Trump’s cabinet nominees, starting with the Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In order for President Trump’s picks to take up cabinet positions, they must be confirmed by the Senate. Respective committees must vote in favor of the nominees before they are considered on the Senate floor, where they  must pass with more than 50 votes. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to slow down the pace of floor consideration of Trump nominees to ensure they get a full debate.

Secretary of Agriculture selected, but not yet confirmed

President Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, will continue visiting with Senate Agriculture Committee members and other senators in preparation for the confirmation process and to discuss their expectations. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not scheduled a confirmation hearing as of this writing. We’re optimistic about Mr. Perdue’s potential to engage in conservation efforts in the Farm Bill and on U.S. National Forest Service lands.

What else we’re tracking:

The 115th congressional agendas and committee leader decisions will be discussed and decided on by the House Budget Committee, the House Appropriations Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, Jan 24.

Julia Peebles

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posted in: General

January 18, 2017

Glassing the Hill: January 17 – 20

The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress

Administration picks continue to be put to the test before lawmakers. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a confirmation hearing on Congressman Zinke’s (R-Mont.) possible role as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. On Tuesday, Rep. Zinke, who is perhaps the least controversial pick among President-elect Trump’s cabinet nominees, answered questions on federal public land transfer, coal programs, energy extraction on public lands, funding for land management agencies, and other conservation issues.

The following day, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, who will testify and answer questions about his agenda as the next administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

We’re still watching out for President-elect Trump’s pick for secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has yet to be announced.

Budget resolutions were filed, indicating lawmaker priorities. Last week, the Senate and House passed the Fiscal Year 2017 budget resolution by the skin of its teeth, with a 51-48 vote, mostly as a legislative vehicle for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. While budget resolutions are non-binding, they are taken into account when lawmakers sit down to draft the real deal.

We can also look to natural resources amendments, which were filed but not considered on the Senate floor last week, to predict what will be submitted for the next year’s budget resolution. The FY18 resolution will likely be much more relevant to conservation policy, and we expect it to be introduced in the Senate and House by the end of February.

Another forecast: The Clean Water Rule could be withdrawn. In order to clarify the jurisdiction of headwater streams and wetlands, Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced a non-binding resolution that would express Senate support for the withdrawal of the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule.

To cap the week, Washington, D.C. is expecting an influx of visitors for the presidential inauguration. President-elect Trump will be sworn into office on Friday, January 20.

Jonathan Stumpf

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posted in: General

January 10, 2017

All the New Features of TRCP’s Revamped Website

It’s a new year and a new chapter in Washington, and we’re geared up to tackle the future of conservation with a completely redesigned trcp.org.

With our new look, we’ll continue to bring you up to speed on the conservation issues that matter to you, but it’ll be a lot more fun. Here’s what to expect:

  • Total access, no squinting. No matter where you are, you’ll now be able to enjoy our content, take action, or make a donation comfortably from any of your devices.
  • All our content under one roof. Now, there’s just one destination for our latest news and blog posts.
  • Personalized reading lists. If you’re interested in a topic, we’ll serve up a “playlist” of posts that you might be into.
  • A deeper dive on the issues. Conservation is a complex topic, but what we care about boils down to this: We need habitat and clean water, plenty of access to hunting and fishing spots, and support for conservation funding and outdoor recreation businesses. Explore the legislation and management challenges related to these essential fights, and we’ll always give you at least one opportunity to take action and make a difference.
  • Inspiration from T.R. himself. We put some of Theodore Roosevelt’s best quotes about conservation front and center on the homepage to remind us of the legacy we’re here to uphold.

We hope our fresh design will make it easier for you stay in-the-know and engaged on the front lines of conservation. Let us know what you think of our makeover by emailing info@trcp.org. We’d love to hear from you.





Julia Peebles

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posted in: General

January 9, 2017

Glassing the Hill: January 9 – 13

The TRCP’s scouting report on sportsmen’s issues in Congress

Last week was the kick-off of the 115th Congress. Here’s what you may have missed:

Public lands were threatened on the first day. A provision was included in the House rules package that would allow the Congressional Budget Office to not consider the lost revenues from transferring public lands, potentially easing the path forward for transfer. The package passed the House on party lines.

Efforts were made to eliminate recent regulations during the first week. The House quickly passed two bills which aim to facilitate the removal of rules that were made in the final days of the Obama administration. “The Midnight Rules Relief Act” would allow a single joint resolution by lawmakers to disapprove multiple rules finalized in the administration’s final days, and “The Regulations from Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act” (REINS Act) would require congressional approval for any federal rule that would impact the economy with costs that exceed $100 million. The Senate introduced their own versions of these bills as well: S. 34 and S. 21.

Another way to undo previous rules might be used to weaken water protections. As Obama-era regulations continue to be a major focus of the new Congress, it seems likely that the Congressional Review Act (CRA) may be utilized to stop the most highly controversial rules. The CRA would allow Congress to consider stopping rules that were introduced after May 16, 2016 with only a simple majority. One rule the Republican leadership would like to see blocked first is the Stream Protection Rule, which would limit regulations for coal mining near waterways. The House is expected to begin considering rules under the CRA as early as January 30.

The national monument designation process is also under scrutiny. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and 25 Senate Republicans introduced “The Improved National Monument Designation Process Act,” which would require congressional approval, state legislature and local support, and a certification of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act before national monuments and marine monuments can be declared by the president.

This is what we’re scoping this week:

We’ll be watching 2017 budget discussions for provisions that affect habitat and access. To this point, 21 amendments have been filed to the Senate Budget Resolution, with many more expected. The Senate is expected to be voting on budget-related amendments for the majority of this week, including a likely “vote-a-rama,” during which many votes will be stacked one after the other into a late-night voting session. Amendments must be written in a way that makes them germane to the budget, but can cover a wide range of policy issues.

The process of confirming Trump’s cabinet might begin this week with testimonies in nominees’ respective Senate committees. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, attended meetings with Republicans and Democrats last week in advance of confirmation hearings that will be announced soon. Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.), Trump’s Interior Secretary nominee, will be meeting with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee members this week in advance of a confirmation hearing that Chairwoman Murkowski pledged will happen before the inaugural ceremonies on Jan 20.

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