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Our first major ask of the 116th Congress: End the shutdown and put the federal conservation workforce back to work
As freshmen lawmakers join seasoned veterans on Capitol Hill and the partial government shutdown becomes the longest in history, the TRCP is welcoming decision-makers to Washington with a bold message: Here’s what hunters and anglers need from you right now.
These are the top priorities we outlined for Congress in a letter to every office this week:
End the partial government shutdown. This must be the first priority of the 116th Congress. The ongoing government shutdown is having an outsized impact on our nation’s land management agencies and natural resources, as basic public access has been curtailed, and wildlife habitat restoration projects grind to a halt. There is no more urgent conservation issue than putting the people of the Department of the Interior, Agriculture, and Environmental Protection Agency back to work on behalf of the American people, and our fish and wildlife resources.
Recommit to public lands. The waning days of the 115th Congress saw time run out on a comprehensive public lands package that included reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and numerous sportsmen’s priorities. The 116th Congress should capitalize on this momentum by taking early action on that bipartisan and bicameral agreement.
Rebuild our nature-based infrastructure. Natural systems—like coastal barrier islands, wetlands, and intact flood plains—provide some of the most effective and durable solutions to reducing the impacts of large storm events and protecting public safety, natural resources, and homes and businesses. As Congress looks to invest in our national infrastructure, the value of our natural infrastructure should be reflected in new policy and funding.
Don’t ignore climate change. Climate change is altering migration patterns and mating seasons, stressing native species, and lengthening wildfire seasons. Sportsmen and women are often on the front lines to view these kinds of changes firsthand, and we recognize that climate challenges profoundly threaten the future of our traditions and the outdoor economy. Hunters and anglers look forward to being part of the conversation on addressing the issue of climate change and creating a solutions-based approach to managing carbon emissions.
Guard against significant cuts to conservation funding. Fiscal Year 2020 signals the end of the bipartisan budget agreement of 2018 and the potential return of budget sequestration, which will initiate across-the-board cuts to federal resource conservation and land management budgets. Congress must take action to avoid the return of drastic funding cuts for conservation programs that, in many cases, are already underfunded.
In the coming weeks and days, we will continue this conversation with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and develop ways we can partner to meet the needs of America’s hunters, anglers, and unique natural resources.
And we’ll be in touch with sportsmen and women, like you, when there are opportunities to apply pressure and hold policymakers accountable.
Photo by Whitney Potter
To do right by public lands, lawmakers need to work together
While Washington plays the blame game, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is calling on our elected officials to work together and reopen the government.
As a result, the TRCP is in contact with the nation’s land management agencies to get status updates on our lands, waters, and wildlife. If you have experienced an impact of the government shutdown, please let us know so we can work to address it.
Our fish and wildlife resources, public lands, and the people who carry out conservation in America should not be ignored. Take action today and join the TRCP in calling for an end to this shutdown.I stand with @TheTRCP in supporting our public lands. It’s time for Washington to #EndTheShutdown. Click To Tweet
Photo Credit: Architect of the Capitol
TRCP boosts leadership team with alumni from Senator Tester’s office and Colorado DNR
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership proudly welcomes two new staffers to its leadership team. Marneé Banks, previously communications director for U.S. Senator Jon Tester, will serve as the organization’s new chief communications officer in its Washington, D.C. headquarters. Madeleine West—previously assistant director for parks, wildlife, and lands at the Colorado Department of Natural Resources—will oversee four field representatives as deputy director of Western lands out of Denver.
“We’re excited to welcome two such talented and capable individuals to augment the skills of our existing team and lead the organization into a new chapter of conservation success,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. “Marneé brings critical experience in messaging around complex issues within a challenging media environment, and her work to spearhead campaigns around Senator Tester’s public land, outdoor recreation, and conservation legislation will be a major asset. Madeleine’s extensive work with Western leaders and agency staff will help advance our public lands policy work across the region, and we’re eager to have her hit the ground running during such a critical time for habitat and access.”
Banks grew up in Montana fishing the Little Blackfoot River and exploring the Rocky Mountains. A University of Montana alumna, she started her career in journalism as a television reporter covering local news. She later became the chief political reporter for the Montana Television Network and news director at KRTV and KXLH.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership,” says Banks. “As a lifelong sportswoman, I am honored to be a part of such a talented team of individuals, who are committed to conserving our land, water, wildlife, and outdoor way of life.”
Since 2013, West has developed state-level policy primarily related to wildlife, outdoor recreation, state lands, and forestry issues for Colorado DNR. She also led DNR’s engagement in federal policies related to sage grouse and mitigation. Previously, West also served as wildlife program director at the Western Governors’ Association, lobbied in the Colorado State legislature for industry clients, and handled congressional relations in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Oceans, Environment, and Science in Washington, D.C.
“I’ve long admired TRCP for its bipartisan and collaborative approach and record of making a meaningful difference for conservation,” says West. “I am very excited to join this high performing team.”
Lawmakers have undone a 2017 rule-change that was widely criticized by hunters and anglers concerned about the threat of public land transfer or disposal
This week, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership encouraged House lawmakers to reverse a 2017 measure that made it easier to transfer or sell off public lands.
“Considering the benefits they provide to local communities and the nation—including outdoor recreation opportunities, clean water, and abundant wildlife habitat—America’s public lands continue to increase in value,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Congress should not be in the business of finding new ways to get rid of our public lands, and we applaud measures proposed by House lawmakers that recognize public lands are national assets, worthy of conservation.”
In its first day in session, the House of the 116th Congress passed a rules package that did not include language widely criticized by hunters and anglers last Congress.
The original rule-change—made by a 40-vote margin on the first day of the 115th Congress—overturned a requirement under Congressional Budget Office accounting rules to offset the cost of any transfer of federal land that generated revenue for the U.S. Treasury, whether through energy extraction, logging, grazing, or other activities.
In other words, for the past two years, public lands—even those producing billions in revenue for the federal government—had no official value and thus were vulnerable in terms of possible transfer to the states. House rules passed on Thursday did not carry this provision forward.
Once again, if lawmakers want to give federal land to a state or local government or tribe, they have to account for that loss of revenue.
“This indicates that public lands are on firmer footing in the 116th Congress,” says Fosburgh. “We encourage all our lawmakers to restore or create policies that will help keep public lands in the public’s hands.”
This story was updated on January 4, 2019.
In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.Learn More