Marnee Banks

February 4, 2019

Bernhardt Would Be Accessible as Secretary of the Interior

President and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Whit Fosburgh issued the following statement upon the nomination of Mr. David Bernhardt to serve as Interior Secretary:

“No issue is more important to America’s hunters and anglers than the management of the nation’s public lands. David Bernhardt’s return to the Department in 2018 brought a wealth of legal and policy knowledge to the Department’s senior executive team.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership has worked closely with Mr. Bernhardt in his roles as Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary, and we have found him to be accessible, fair, and true to his word. He has been a steady hand during challenging times at the Department and he has worked to strengthen relationships with the states and the nation’s sportsmen and women.

Mr. Bernhardt’s nomination to be Secretary of the Interior places him in an unenviable position to balance the priorities of the Trump Administration with the mission of the Department. We have often disagreed on policies, such as the pace and siting of energy development and the failure of the department to require developers to mitigate the damage they do to the lands that belong to all Americans. At the same time we have worked productively with Mr. Bernhardt to expand recreational access to public lands and protect big game migration corridors.

We believe Mr. Bernhardt cares about the Department, and in his work with the TRCP, Mr. Bernhardt has conveyed his commitment to advance the Department’s mission and support its role as steward for the public lands and natural resources that help make America unique.

We support Mr. Bernhardt’s nomination for Secretary of the Interior to advance pragmatic conservation, and we pledge to hold him accountable to the sportsmen and women we represent.”


Photo courtesy of Zion National Park.

7 Responses to “Bernhardt Would Be Accessible as Secretary of the Interior”

  1. Bill Cahill

    I respectfully disagree with your assessment. The man’s life work is natural resource extraxtion. I foresee him selling and/or leasing out as much public land to private industries as quickly as possible. I could be wrong, but his stances in the past indicate this is much more likely than him suddenly becoming a major environmentalist.
    This admistration is no friend to public lands. This nomination is no exception.

  2. John Sweet

    This is a very measured and intelligent response to the nomination of Mr. Bernhardt. Some the other responders miss the point. We don’t need an environmentalist as SEC DOI, we need a conservationist. With proper oversight some energy extraction can occur on our public lands with minimal and temporary impact on wildlife. Let’s maintain an intelligent and sustainable attitude towards the wise use of our public lands. Protect habitat through proper oversight, but conservation is a philosophy that makes both fiscal and scientific sense.

  3. I had originally thought that Bernhardt would be very strongly on the side of oil and gas developers, but this post has made me optimistic about his nomination. He may not be perfectly aligned with conservationists, but with the current administration, he may be the best we can get. I hope he is indeed “accessible.”

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Marnee Banks

TRCP Backs Bill to Help Combat Chronic Wasting Disease

U.S. Representatives Ralph Abraham and Marc Veasey introduce bill in new Congress to help protect hunting economy.

U.S. Representatives Ralph Abraham (R-La.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas) are introducing legislation to help combat the spread of chronic wasting disease among deer, elk, and moose populations across the United States.

The bill directs the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to study how chronic wasting disease (CWD) is transmitted, how quickly it spreads among a given population, and how easily it infects individual animals. With CWD now present in 26 states, this legislation will provide critical information to guide future wildlife management decisions.

“Chronic wasting disease threatens America’s hunting tradition and our nation’s model for funding conservation,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This legislation will provide solid scientific data so we can attack this disease head-on and protect deer herds across our nation. We want to thank Representatives Abraham and Veasey for their leadership and look forward to advancing this bill in the new Congress.”

In 2018, TRCP and National Deer Alliance rallied more than 1,000 hunters to call both for updates to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s standards for responding to CWD outbreaks in captive herds and for the Department to take meaningful steps to curb the spread of the disease. The TRCP also joined 29 conservation groups in asking Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to allow the hunting public more time to comment on its proposed CWD program standards.

Companion legislation is expected to be introduced in the Senate in the coming weeks.


Photo courtesy of Bill Sincavage.

Marnee Banks

February 1, 2019

43 Organizations Urge Senate Passage of Historic Public Lands Legislation

TRCP leads effort to support permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and 42 other organizations are urging Senate leadership to immediately vote on a bipartisan agreement to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund and improve outdoor recreation opportunities.

The group of hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation, and outdoor recreation organizations points to the overwhelmingly bipartisan support for this historic public lands legislation (S.47) in both the House and Senate.

“The momentum and support for this package remains widespread across a variety of public lands stakeholders, and urgent consideration of the package in the new Congress is well warranted,” the organizations wrote. “It is thoroughly bipartisan in nature and broad in scope, and passage of this package would be a historical step forward for public lands and conservation.”

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) negotiated the legislation last Congress and received a commitment to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote in the 116th Congress.

The group notes passage of this bill is critical, “so that future generations of Americans can enjoy our public lands, waterways, and the wildlife that inhabit them for years to come.”

The group’s letter is available HERE.


Photo courtesy of BLM and Bob Wick.

Kristyn Brady

January 4, 2019

Banks and West Join TRCP to Advance Conservation Mission

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.”

Click here for the full roster of TRCP leadership.

Kristyn Brady

January 2, 2019

House Reversed Rule That Made It Easier to Sell Off Public Lands

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.



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