NWF Legislative Update
Week of February 13-17, 2017
Table of Contents
II. The Week Ahead
III. On the Radar
àCheck out this 2017 Congressional calendar to see when Congress will be in session
The Week in Review
Overview: It’s been a hectic week in Congress, with the Senate still focused in on nominations (with particular attention on confirming Scott Pruitt), and the House working through another host of CRAs. Read on:
Cabinet Nominations Updates:
See the table below for the status of nominees we’re watching. As you remember, NWF and 36 affiliates have sent a letter to the hill expressing the need for all cabinet nominations to address wildlife and conservation concerns, and we will be weighing in specifically on nominations for Interior, EPA, and Agriculture. [Read the official NWF & Affiliates letter]
|Position||Nominee||Hearing||Committee Vote||Floor Vote|
|EPA Administrator||Scott Pruitt||10:00am, Jan 18 [rewatch here]||10:45am, Feb 1 [notice here] à passed in committee (Feb 2)||1:00pm, Feb 17 àconfirmed [52-46 vote]|
|Interior Secretary||Ryan Zinke||2:15pm, Jan 17 [rewatch here]||9:30am, Jan 31 [notice here] à passed in committee||TBD|
|USDA Secretary||Sonny Perdue||TBD||TBD||TBD|
Despite Judge Order for Emails, Vote Today Confirms Pruitt for EPA Administrator: On Thursday (Feb 16), a judge order that 3,000 documents Attorney General Pruitt has been withholding needed to be turned over by Tuesday. In light of this development, the Senate took up a vote today (Feb 17) on the Sen. Merkley motion to extend debate on the Pruitt nomination for an additional 248 hours. After that vote failed 47-51, the Senate moved on to the confirmation vote and confirmed Mr. Pruitt by a vote of 52-46. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) crossed party lines to support his confirmation, while Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the sole Republican in opposition. Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) were out of town and did not vote. [Read NWF’s full statement on Pruitt’s confirmation, and stay tuned for an NWF blog and other press materials.]
NWF Hosted #OpposePruitt “Flash Fly-In” on the Hill: In a terrific show of last minute extra push, on Feb 14-15, NWF hosted a mini “flash fly-in” (think flash mob, but without the dancing) to bring in grasstops from TN, AZ, OH, and ME to urge Senators in their DC offices to vote NO on Pruitt. Many thanks to Rick Murphree, Ben Alteneder, Captain Dave Spangler, and Bill Mook for making the trip to DC on a moment’s notice to help sway these votes! See a sprinkling of photos of our fly-in participants with their Senators below:
Other Admin/Cabinet Updates: As you may have heard, on Feb 13 National security adviser Michael Flynn resigned after reports he misled senior White House officials about conversations with Russia [read more from The Hill], and on Feb 15 Andy Puzder withdrew his nomination to become Labor secretary after it became clear that he would not have enough Republican support to be confirmed [read more from The Hill]. Meanwhile, The Senate’s 51-49 vote to confirm Rep. Mick Mulvaney (SC-5) as Office of Management and Budget director on Thursday (Feb 16) presents him with a hefty to-do list with less time to meet upcoming deadlines than any other OMB chief in recent history. [Read more from E&E News]
ESA Hearing in Senate EPW: On Wednesday (Feb 15), the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held an oversight hearing on ‘Modernization of the Endangered Species Act.’ Among those testifying were former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal; the former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Service, Dan Ashe; and the President of Defenders of Wildlife, Jamie Clark. While Freudenthal’s testimony asserted that the ESA had been wrongfully used as a mechanism to increase federal influence on wildlife management, Clark made a point of emphasizing the success of the ESA, and how being severely underfunded has impacted its reach. Clark also mentioned the importance of improved wildlife funding to protect habitat. [To read full testimonies and watch the hearing, see the EPW committee site.]
Bipartisan Public Lands Resolution introduced in House: Also on Wednesday afternoon (Feb 15), a bipartisan concurrent resolution supporting public lands was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA), Rep. Reichert (R-WA), and Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ). H.Con.Res. 27, titled “Expressing the sense of Congress that America’s Federal public lands are national treasures that belong to all Americans,” states the many benefits provided by public lands, including ecosystem services, economic gains and jobs, wildlife habitat, and recreation opportunities. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources. NWF will encourage members to sign onto the resolution and clearly state their support for keeping our public lands public. [Read more from NWF/Medium]
Predator Protection CRA Passes House: The House cleared another CRA (H.J. Res. 69) Thursday (Feb 16) afternoon on a 225-193 vote that would overturn an Interior regulation limiting hunting practices in Alaskan national wildlife refuges. Five Democrats backed it: Reps. Cuellar (TX-28), Gonzalez (TX-15), Kind (WI-3), Peterson (MN-7), and Vela (TX-34) – while ten Republicans voted no: Reps. Donovan (NY-11), Fitzpatrick (PA-8), King (NY-2), LoBiondo (NJ-2), MacArthur (NJ-3), McSally (AZ-2), Reichert (WA-8), Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Smith (NJ-4), and Upton (MI-6). [Read more from E&E News]
E&E Covers NWF’s Jan Goldman-Carter as Key Combatant for WOTUS Fight: “Pruitt has vowed to ditch WOTUS, but replacing it — a goal for agribusiness and developers alike — won’t be easy given the rule must be scientifically and legally defensible… Here are key players on WOTUS” (including Jan!). [Read the full E&E Greenwire story]
The Week Ahead
Overview: After today, we’ve got a week of recess to catch our breath: both the House and Senate are out next week and will be back in session on Monday, Feb 27.
Farm Bill Season Begins: This Thursday, February 23, the Senate Agriculture committee will be holding a Farm Bill field hearing in Manhattan, Kansas. This will be the first hearing of the 2018 Farm Bill, and we are working with some of our affiliates in the region to engage in the hearing. Debate over reauthorizing the bill is already heating up in part because of the downturn in the farm economy. [Read more from the Senate Ag Committee]
On the Radar
Cabinet Positions on Deck: With Pruitt confirmed, Congress won’t take up any other Cabinet action until it returns from its weeklong Presidents’ Day recess. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed cloture earlier this week on several other cabinet nominees: Wilbur Ross for Commerce secretary, Rep. Ryan Zinke for Interior secretary, Ben Carson for HUD secretary, and Rick Perry for Energy secretary – setting up a series of votes in that order starting Feb 27. Worth noting: the Senate will have a new Cabinet nominee to begin vetting, as Trump announced on Thursday (Feb 16) his pick Alexander Acosta, a former Justice Department official and the current dean of Florida International University College of Law, for Labor secretary nominee. [Read more from NYT]
CRA Resolutions Still Coming Fast & Furious
Congress continues to churn out CRAs (5 new ones – HJ Res 43, 69, 42, 66, and 67 – passed in the House just this week). More info on all the CRA’s in this piece by VOX, and here are the CRAs in play (passed in House) that we are watching to see if the Senate takes up in the coming weeks. Right now there’s no intel on timing, and so we’re on hold:
BLM Venting/Flaring Methane Rule: As you remember, the House voted 221-191 to block implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s rule to limit natural gas waste and methane pollution from oil and gas wells on public and tribal lands. The rule was finalized in November 2016 and supported by NWF because it improves resource management on public lands, saves taxpayer dollars, and curbs emissions of a potent greenhouse gas that threatens wildlife habitat via climate change. The BLM rule is – with a similar rule from the EPA covering all new oil and gas sources across the country – a cornerstone of efforts to curb methane pollution from its leading source in the U.S. [Read more from The Hill]
BLM’s 2.0 Planning Regulations: The House voted 234-186 to overrule the BLM’s new planning regulations, referred to as BLM 2.0. NWF joined 18 conservation and industry groups in a letter supporting BLM 2.0 to key leaders in the House. BLM land management plans are an important way for the public to weigh in on how our lands are managed, and for the agencies to resolve different viewpoints and plan for long term management of the land. BLM’s planning rules have not been updated in 30 years. Opponents to the new rules argue that the increased opportunities for public input will be bad for extractive industries. [Read more from The Hill]
Reminder that We’re Still in a Continuing Resolution (CR): Congress has until April 28 to figure out how to fund the government for the rest of the year (FY17), while also starting to ramp up efforts for FY18 budgeting. Appropriators are trying to tamp down desires for another CR, and may still want to hammer out an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the whole government through the end of the fiscal year (Sept 30) – but we’re not sure how likely that scenario is. [Read more from the National Law Review]
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National Wildlife Federation
Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world
NWF Legislative Update
Week of September 19-23, 2016
Table of Contents
The Week Ahead
Overview: After a week of negotiation on a spending bill to keep the government open when the fiscal year starts on October 1, there is still not agreement on a path forward. With the clock ticking, members will return on Monday to try and get to a deal. In addition, the House of Representatives will take up its version of the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA).
Countdown to Spending Bill: Tensions are high after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled a short-term continuing resolution which would fund the government through December 9, 2016. The latest version of the bill includes some victories for NWF, such as funding to implement the recently passed Toxic Substances Control Act rewrite (TSCA) and $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus without additional Clean Water Act loopholes that industry had lobbied for; however the legislation has a fatal flaw. While it provides $500 million for Louisiana and other states coping with recent flooding disasters, the bill does not include emergency funding to address the Flint Michigan lead contamination crisis. NWF and Congressional Democrats will continue to press Congress to provide needed aid to both Flint and Louisiana. A procedural vote on the measure is scheduled for Tuesday (Sept 27) at 2:15pm. [Read more from Politico (on Congress) and Politico (on the White House), and a little background on CRs from Roll Call.]
House To Take Up WRDA: Next Tuesday or Wednesday the House will take up its version of the Water Resources Development Act. House WRDA includes 2 key conservation projects to restore the LA River and Florida Everglades, but does not include Flint funding or the many regional program pieces from the Senate Bill (Long Island Sound, Lake Tahoe, Great Lakes, Delaware River Basin). We expect the bill to pass mostly by party line vote and set us up for a conference where we’ll fight for these regional programs and Flint funding if it has not been addressed in a CR before then. NWF will provide the hill w analysis, vote recommendations and more. Let us know if you have questions or concerns. [Read more from Politico].
The Week in Review
Overview: While we’ve been waiting for additional movement on the CR and/or WRDA, committees in the House and Senate have held a few interesting hearings of note:
House Natural Resources Committee Hearing on CEQ Climate Guidance: On Wednesday (Sept 21), the House Natural Resource Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on the Impacts of the Obama CEQ’s “Final Guidance on the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in NEPA Reviews.” Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of CEQ, was there to provide testimony [read her testimony here]. NWF sent up a letter in support for this important guidance, which is consistent with sound science and the law. It will not impede infrastructure and other federal efforts, but rather ensure such investments are made in a smart manner that will help infrastructure investment endure well into the future, and that protects the long-term health and viability of communities, habitats and wildlife in the face of a rapidly changing climate and the challenges that presents. [Watch the hearing here.]
Memorable quote from the hearing: “I just want to welcome you to this bubble of climate denial that you have walked into today,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said to Christy Goldfuss. [Read more about the hearing from Bloomberg BNA, E&E (day of), E&E (next day) and Morning Consult.]
House Natural Resources Committee Hearing on the Status of Wolf Management: The House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled, “The Status of the Federal Government’s Management of Wolves” on Wednesday (Sept 21) to inform the Committee about the status of federal and state wolf management and recovery efforts in the United States. The hearing covered all three wolf species; Red, Gray and Mexican. [Read the hearing notice here, and watch the hearing here. Read more about the hearing from E&E.]
Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Hearing on Antiquities Act Bills: On Thursday (Sept 22), the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on a host of bill including three that would weaken and undermine the Antiquities Act. We sent a letter to the committee expressing NWF’s strong support for national monuments and the Antiquities Act, and urged opposition to these bills.
- · S. 437, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act, would allow states to dictate how national lands and waters are managed by requiring state approval for national monuments within state borders or within 100 miles of state shores.
- · S. 1416, a bill to limit the authority to reserve water rights in designating a national monument, could undermine the purposes of certain national monuments dependent on adequate water to support water-based recreation such as fishing or boating, or to support fish, wildlife and plants, by limiting the reservation of water rights for national monuments.
- · S. 3317, a bill to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act, would deprive Utahns and all Americans of national monuments within Utah’s borders.
Contact: Casey Skeens, NWF Communications Manager, SkeensC@NWF.org, 202-797-6808
Washington, DC (August 24, 2016) – Today, President Obama designated a new national monument — the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument — in Maine’s North Woods to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service.
Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, had this to say:
“This new designation is a phenomenal way to celebrate the National Park Service centennial. By setting aside nearly 87,500 acres of public lands, the president is ensuring that Maine’s magnificent forests, mountains, and waterways will continue to be rich in biodiversity and safeguard these ecosystems. Wildlife in the region like moose, lynx, and loons are also big winners as they will now receive critical new protections that will ensure their long term survival.
Future generations of Americans will be very thankful to President Obama, the National Park Service, and philanthropist Roxanne Quimby’s foundation, Elliotsville Plantation, Inc., who generously donated the land. NWF’s Maine affiliate, the Natural Resources Council of Maine also deserve big praise for their hard work towards making today’s announcement possible. The Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, combined with Maine’s other amazing public lands like Baxter State Park and Acadia National Park, will continue to provide amazing opportunities for outdoor recreation and habitats for wildlife for the next hundred years.”
In response, Lisa Pohlmann, the executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said:
“The new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a fabulous gift to the people of Maine and to the nation. This area of northern Maine contains a stunningly beautiful collection of mountains, forests, waters and wildlife. The Natural Resources Council of Maine is proud to have been part of this effort.”
Maine’s largest park, Acadia National Park, attracted nearly 3 million visitors last year and brought in an estimated $247.9 million for communities in the area. Originally designated by President Wilson in 1916, Acadia was the ninth most visited park in America in 2015.
Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Saving Over a Million Acres of Moose Habitat in Minnesota
But right now, Twin Metals, owned by Antofagasta of Chile, is proposing a massive, sulfide-ore copper mine within the Boundary Waters’ watershed, just upstream from these priceless wilderness waterways.
Moose are at Home in the Water
Wilderness visitors are often surprised to learn how naturally at home moose are in the water. Moose can easily swim for miles without stopping and submerge as deep as 10 feet or more below the water’s surface to feed. In fact, moose calves are born near water, and the species relies on water habitat to avoid and escape from wolves and bears.
Moose. Photo by Skeeze/Pixabay
Moose in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness are often found wading through marsh areas in the summer eating water lilies, wild rice, and other aquatic plants. They are attracted to these pristine waters because the aquatic vegetation has more protein than terrestrial plants and provides crucial nutrients needed to get through winter months. Studies are showing us that a healthy aquatic habitat can be key for the long-term sustainability of moose in the northern woods of Minnesota.
Moose are struggling from the stress of winter tick infestations exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, liver flukes, parasites and deadly brain worm. Friends of wildlife are pressing for the permanent protection of life-giving habitat in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to give moose a chance to bounce back and survive.
NWF Backs Common-Sense Methane Pollution Cuts
Washington, DC (August 2, 2016) – As of today’s legal deadline, at least fifteen states have filed lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency to try and block common-sense, cost-effective rules to curb methane pollution and waste from new and modified sources of oil and gas operations.
Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation, said in response:
“Methane pollution poses a direct threat to wildlife — and capturing leaking emissions will help companies make more money. That sort of common-sense, win-win solution deserves bipartisan support. Methane is a super-pollutant — when compared with carbon dioxide, methane has over 80 times the impact on climate change over the course of a 20 year period.
“By updating wasteful practices that allow methane to leak during oil and gas production, we can reduce both pollution and the need for additional infrastructure that too often fragments important habitat for iconic species, ranging from pronghorn and elk to trout and sage grouse. Firmly grounded in the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s cost-effective approach will cap leaks and cut waste using available, modern technologies, showing we can both conserve wildlife and strengthen our economy.”
The EPA’s finalized rule builds on successful pollution limits some states have already put in place and it sets the stage for the next round of limits that will bring needed reductions from existing oil and gas sources.
Visit the National Wildlife Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Protecting wildlife is job of National Wildlife Federation
By BRANDON BUTLER Special to the Tribune
Conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts from across the country gathered June 16-18 in Estes Park, Colo., for the 80th annual meeting of the National Wildlife Federation. Many areas of concern for wildlife and habitat were discussed. Privatization of wildlife, transfer of public lands, sportsmen’s issues and conservation funding were key points of discussion.
The NWF was formed in 1936 when Jay “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist, convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to convene more than 2,000 hunters, anglers and conservationists from across the country to the first North American Wildlife Conference in Washington, D.C. Darling’s vision of a federation promoting conservation interests, encouraging social diversity and demanding action from Congress lives on today. NWF is America’s largest conservation organization, with 6 million supporters and 50 state and territorial affiliate organizations.
Protecting national public lands from politicians who are hoping to sell them off for a short-term financial gain was a major emphasis of last week’s meeting. A large rally was held on the lawn of the YMCA of the Rockies to show support for national public lands. All expressed a similar message of “keep your hands off our lands.”
“Since 1936, when Darling’s vision of a conservation army began to form with the founding of the National Wildlife Federation, this organization has been made up of hunters and anglers, birders and gardeners, farmers and foresters — all of whom shared a passion for wildlife and conservation,” said Collin O’Mara, the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Now more than ever, we need to speak out for fish and wildlife, clean air and water and wild places.”
Chad Karges, manager of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, was in attendance and addressed the crowd during the opening general session. Malheur is the refuge that was occupied by armed militants this year. He explained how the occupation of the refuge actually took place and how militants from numerous anti-government militias have embedded in the communities surrounding Malheur, even though local residents have overtly expressed the militias are not welcome there. Karges was pleased with the way local, state and federal agencies worked together to end the occupation. He said their plan all along was to wait out the terrorists, minimize risk for loss of life and not help them build support for their cause.
A caucus met to discuss the issue of privatized wildlife, mainly captive cervids, which include all members of the deer family. States are trying to figure out how to slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease. Completely ending the movement of captive cervids from facility to facility is a top priority of many conservation organizations. O’Mara has recently met with USDA leadership to discuss options.
Sportsmen are our nation’s leading conservationists, and they were well-represented at the NWF meeting. Two concerns addressed during the Sportsman Caucus were pending legislation in Washington, D.C., and funding for conservation efforts. The Pittman-Robertson Act began funding conservation in 1938 through the creation of an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and certain hunting-related sporting goods. Today, some politicians are looking for ways to potentially reform Pittman-Robertson. NWF is keeping a close eye on their progress and engaging in the process to protect this critical measure.
Wildlife conservation doesn’t just happen. If it were not for the millions of Americans who pursue fish and game and those who generally appreciate the outdoors, our nation’s landscape and our wildlife would look vastly different. It takes an army to defend the diversity of wildlife across this country. Thankfully, the NWF with all its affiliate organizations, including the Conservation Federation of Missouri, is leading the charge.
Brandon Butler is the executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri.
Contact: Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation, GrantM@NWF.org, 703-864-9599
The National Wildlife Federation Commits to New Vision for Wildlife Conservation at 80th Annual Meeting
Federation Also Approves Resolutions and Awards Malheur Manager
Estes Park, Colo. (June 21, 2016) – The National Wildlife Federation made a fresh commitment to expanding American wildlife populations, passed a series of resolutions on critical conservation policy, and presented a series of Conservation Achievement Awards at its 80th annual meeting that just concluded in Estes Park, Colo. The Federation is made up of fifty state and territorial affiliate partners, a diverse network that elects key members of NWF’s leadership and sets NWF’s conservation policy priorities each year. Affiliates elected Kathy Hadley of the Montana Wildlife Federation to succeed Bruce Wallace as chair of the NWF Board of Directors in 2017.
A New Vision
Affiliates approved a “We Envision” statement for the National Wildlife Federation that sets a bold course for conservation in America. The vision calls for “a nation where, within a generation, wildlife populations are thriving, not declining” in a rapidly changing world. This ambitious goal would reverse the deep declines in wildlife in the U.S. by addressing critical threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, water degradation and scarcity, climate change, new forms of pollution—and a population that primarily lives indoors in cities. A recent study estimates that world wildlife populations have declined by 50 percent since 1970, and U.S. populations almost as steeply.
“America faces a conservation crisis that our generation must confront and overcome. Despite endangered species recovery success stories like the bald eagle and restoration of once-depleted game species like elk, wild turkey, wood ducks, and striped bass, thousands of other species of birds, fish, wildlife, insects and plants have been slipping through the cracks for decades, with more species of wildlife becoming at-risk each year,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation.
This vision begins to establish a forward-looking scientific framework for improving fish and wildlife conservation in America with emphasis on linking already protected areas and addressing major ecological gaps. It also focuses on freshwater and coastal resources and recognizes how important habitat areas in agricultural regions and urban centers can be for wildlife. Importantly, the vision begins to forecast a future approach to fish and wildlife conservation in a continuously urbanizing nation experiencing the effects of climate change.
“Our ‘We Envision’ statement is an open invitation to America’s many conservation organizations and agencies to join in a generation-long collaborative effort to increase U.S. wildlife populations and build a new conservation army of 75 million Americans committed to wildlife, and habitat conservation,” said O’Mara.
Affiliates also approved a resolution supporting the recently-released recommendations of Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, calling for the annual investment of at least $1.3 billion into the currently unfunded Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Account to fund state-based conservation and address conservation needs for thousands of species.
Conservation Achievement Awards
The National Wildlife Federation presented a Conservation Achievement Award to Chad Karges, manager of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that was occupied by armed protesters earlier this year. Karges and his staff have shown an exceptional commitment to community-based conservation work despite the occupation, threats of violence, and property damages.
“Chad Karges, his staff, and law enforcement are true American heroes. While most of us monitored the occupation of the refuge from afar, concerned but safe, these public servants faced this volatile situation defending our public lands with unwavering professionalism,” said O’Mara. “Despite the turmoil, Karges and the refuge staff are already back to doing what they do best – managing the refuge for the benefit of sandhill cranes and other wildlife.”
At a news conference in Estes Park on Thursday, O’Mara and representatives of NWF state affiliates from across the country urged elected officials and candidates to support keeping national public lands in public hands, stressing the importance of national public lands to fish and wildlife, the economy and Americans’ quality of life.
Other National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Awards included:
- · The Quixote Foundation: National Conservation Organization of the Year
- · Daniel Romero: National Conservation Youth Leader
- · Ellen McNulty: Affiliate Volunteer of the Year
- · The Honorable Thomas B. Evans, Jr.: National Conservation Leadership Award
- · José González: National Conservation Education Award
- · Northern Cheyenne Tribe: National Conservation Special Achievement Award
- · Sean Gerrity: National Conservation Special Achievement Award
- · Janice Bezanson: Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award
- · Don Hooper: Charlie Shaw Conservation Partnership Award
The National Wildlife Federation presented Conservation Achievement Awards to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and others at ceremonies in April.
In addition to endorsing the Blue Ribbon Panel’s wildlife funding recommendations, affiliates also approved resolutions calling for:
- · A dedicated, reliable, and adequate source of funding sufficient to allow the U.S Forest Service and other agencies to manage wildfires
- · Additional Federal funding to fight against destructive invasive species
- · Further reductions in carbon through the most efficient manner, including setting a price on carbon
- · Federal and state policies and investments that facilitate a fair, just and sustainable transition for communities and workers adversely impacted by declining fossil fuel production
- · Criminal and civil liability for those who illegally occupy of public lands, and accountability for public officials who support such illegal acts
- · An expansion of the boundaries of Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea
Marine National Monument
- · A federal policy for rapid impact assessment for wildlife in response to such natural disasters
- · Stronger regulations and policies to minimize harm to stream habitat and species from the impacts of suction dredge mining operations
- · Department of the Interior to maintain the current new coal leasing moratorium until comprehensive reforms are instituted including raising royalty rates to fair market value, abolishing corporate “self-bonding” of reclamation liabilities, and ensuring compatibility with national carbon reduction goals.
- · Prohibition of commercial net-pen aquaculture within the Great Lakes
- · The Army Corps of engineers to advance critical restoration efforts in the Mississippi River system by maximizing collaboration opportunities with non-federal partnerships
Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Help Wild Bison.
Adopt a Wildlife Acre.
There are too few places in America where bison can roam freely. Right now, bison are only able to roam safely in places like Yellowstone National Park.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can give wildlife like bison room to roam safely by adopting a wildlife acre through the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Adopt a Wildlife Acre program works incredibly well. It provides solutions for both ranchers and wildlife…voluntarily, fairly and without politics.
Backed by your donations, we negotiate a fair market price with ranchers to move their livestock to areas where there aren’t conflicts with bison, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears and wolves. Ranchers win. Wildlife win. And Americans like you help our public wild lands and refuges become the safe haven for wildlife that they were meant to be.
Since 2002, friends of wildlife like you have “adopted” more than 1 million acres, giving bison a chance to survive and thrive and helping struggling bighorn sheep stay out of harm’s way.
Thank you for being part of this inspiring movement to protect America’s wildlife.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2016
CONTACT: (202) 224-5553
Senate Passes Comprehensive Shaheen-Portman Energy Efficiency Legislation
**Progress follows the signing into law last year of a targeted energy efficiency bill authored by the Senators**
**Shaheen also applauds the Senate’s approval of a permanent reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund**
(Washington, DC) – Today, the Senate passed legislation championed by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to boost energy efficiency across the country. Their Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, better known as “Shaheen-Portman,” as well as Senator Shaheen’s Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, the Heat Efficiency through Applied Energy Act and key provisions from her Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, were made a part of a larger energy bill that passed the Senate today.A targeted energy efficiency bill authored by Senators Shaheen and Portman was signed into law by President Obama in April of last year, making it the first significant energy-efficiency legislation to be signed into law in a generation.
“Senator Portman and I first introduced our energy efficiency bill five years ago,” said Shaheen. “Senate gridlock couldn’t keep this good policy down forever. I’m happy to say persistence has once again paid-off. When the President signed our more targeted energy efficiency bill into law last year, it proved that Washington can make progress on addressing our nation’s energy needs when politics is set aside.This larger energy efficiency bill represents another opportunity to help our nation improve energy productivity, reduce carbon pollution, create domestic jobs, save families and businesses money and grow our economy. I will continue to reach across the aisle to pass more common-sense energy efficiency bills because it’s good for our economy and it’s good for our environment. I want to thank Senator Portman again for his partnership on this important legislation.”
“Our energy efficiency bill helps create jobs, save consumers money on their energy bills, and clean up our environment,” Portman said. “This measure will help American manufacturing companies better compete with companies in Europe and Japan, keeping more jobs here and easing the middle class squeeze, while reducing carbon emissions equivalent to taking 20 million cars off the road. That’s a victory for all of us. A lot of hard work over the last five years went into passage of this bipartisan bill and I want to thank Senator Shaheen for being a true partner throughout this process”
According to a 2014 study conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, by 2030 when fully enacted, the provisions in Shaheen-Portman would create nearly 200,000 jobs and save consumers $16 billion per year.
The underlying bill that passed today also included legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which Senator Shaheen has strongly supported.
“I’m very pleased that LWCF has been put on a solid footing today and can move forward with long-term planning to preserve and protect New Hampshire’s beautiful spaces,” said Shaheen. “This is a big win for conservation, tourism and economic growth in New Hampshire.”
Shaheen’s energy efficiency legislation that passed the Senate today is part of the Energy Policy and Modernization Act:
The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, or Shaheen-Portman, advances smart, bipartisan federal policies to spur energy efficiency innovation across the most energy-intensive sectors of our economy. Provisions in Shaheen-Portman will create a national strategy to increase the use of energy efficiency through model building energy codes, promote development of energy efficient supply-chains for businesses, deploy energy-efficient technologies in schools and companies, and encourage the federal government to adopt and implement energy saving policies and programs to reduce its energy use and save taxpayers money.
Shaheen’s Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, cosponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), provides assistance to small- and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers in adopting what’s known as “smart manufacturing technologies.” Smart manufacturing uses technology to integrate all aspects of manufacturing, allowing for real-time management of productivity, energy and costs across factories and companies. These advanced technologies are transforming the manufacturing sector, allowing for businesses to manufacturer more while using less energy. According to a study by the ACEEE, by 2040, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act will save consumers $5 billion in energy savings, while reducing carbon emissions equivalent to taking 116 million cars off the road.
Shaheen’s Heat Efficiency through Applied Technology (HEAT) Act addresses the major regulatory barriers hampering the deployment of heat recovery technologies, such as combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat to power (WHP). It does so by directing the Department of Energy to establish a federal framework that will help states develop solutions for meeting growing energy demands through heat efficient technologies, like CHP and WHP.
The Clean Distributed Energy Grid Integration Act, identifies and addresses obstacles limiting the use of clean energy technologies, thereby reducing energy costs and improving the power quality and resiliency of the electric grid. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of Energy to identify the technical and regulatory barriers to integrating clean distributed energy sources on the grid, and to strive to overcome these barriers through research, stakeholder working groups and demonstrations.
Gina McCarthy: Conservationist of the Year
The National Wildlife Federation to Honor Administrator McCarthy
and Four Others with National Conservation Achievement Awards
Washington, DC (April 14, 2016) – As part of its 80th anniversary celebrations, theNational Wildlife Federation is recognizing five notable individuals for their outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation at the Conservation Achievement Awards.
“These individuals have all made remarkable efforts towards our shared goal of protecting America’s natural heritage,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “It is dedicated people like these who will help us maintain healthy wildlife populations in the future. We are particularly honored to recognize Gina McCarthy as the ‘Conservationist of the Year’ for her tireless efforts over the past three decades to protect America’s air, water and wildlife.”
A luncheon event was held today in the same historic room the organization was founded, the Grand Ballroom at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. The following three individuals were honored:
Gina McCarthy – Conservationist of the Year: Gina McCarthy has served as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since July 2013 and she has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. During her tenure, McCarthy has taken the President’s call to act on the climate and made it one of her top priorities for the EPA, most notably through the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Water Rule. She also spearheads the agency’s commitment to addressing environmental justice concerns and to making a visible difference in communities. Over her 30-year career, she has worked at both the state and local levels on policies regarding economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment. For example, McCarthy oversaw the development of the first mercury and air toxics standards which delivered huge protections to wildlife like the bald eagle, as well as public health benefits for many Americans.
Lowell E. Baier – Jay N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award: Lowell Baier is an attorney, entrepreneur, conservationist, historian, and author. Baier’s passion for the outdoors began on his family’s Indiana farm and Montana ranch. After co-founding Wild Sheep Foundation and being active in the Boone and Crocket Club, Baier led President George H.W. Bush’s wildlife conservation agenda, and he has advised all three successive administrations on wildlife issues. Baier has led the creation of natural resources and wildlife conservation Ph.D. programs at five universities. He led a national campaign to raise $6 million to purchase the last remaining piece of privately held land that was Theodore Roosevelt’s historic Elkhorn Ranch, adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Baier recently authored Inside the Equal Access to Justice Act: Environmental Litigation and the Crippling Battle over America’s Lands, Endangered Species, and Their Critical Habitat and he is at work on Voices from the Wilderness: A Biography, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Baier presently serves on the President’s Leadership Council of the National Wildlife Federation and works with a number of other conservation groups.
Martha Darling – National Conservation Achievement Award: Over the past two decades, Martha Darling has picked up where her relative and National Wildlife Federation founder Ding Darling left off: Building power and clout for the National Wildlife Federation. Now part of the President’s Leadership Council – comprised of the NWF’s most generous donors and ardent supporters – Martha also helped resurrect the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund; bringing her political passions to the national advocacy scene. Through her leadership, the NWF Action Fund has provided vital support to wildlife champions on Capitol Hill, worked with NWF’s state affiliates on ballot measures, and continues to grow its grassroots efforts.
Tonight at a reception at the Stewart R. Mott House, the National Wildlife Federation will honor two congressional partners with National Conservation Achievement Awards for their work with NWF over the past year. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) will be recognized for his leadership advancing reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act and for protecting, defending and securing funding for public lands. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) will be recognized for his leadership championing legislation to protect the Boulder-White Clouds, which resulted in the federal protection of more than 275,000 acres of prime hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in Idaho.
The organization will announce additional Conservation Achievement Award winners at the National Wildlife Federation’s 80th Annual Meeting in June in Estes Park, CO.
Collin O’Mara and Ted Roosevelt IV: Call of the wilderness seeks to save the Boundary Waters
Wilderness runs in our blood. It calls upon us to explore and conserve — and we are compelled to answer. It provides habitat for wildlife and fish and stirs the souls of sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts, longing to return.
With this in mind, we traveled to Minnesota to join sportsmen and women in urging the protection of America’s most visited wilderness area, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We were inspired by the state’s conservation legacy and the thousands of Minnesotans committed to protecting this national treasure for generations to come.
Too often, our nation’s special places are taken for granted. Few would argue against the breathtaking grandeur of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon and the remarkable foresight demonstrated by presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt in protecting them.
Yet, in the past few decades, both iconic national parks have been threatened by ill-conceived proposals to mine metals just outside their borders. Fortunately, enough people realized that some places are just too special to risk, and local citizens, conservation leaders and government authorities took bold steps to block the proposed mines.
Now, Minnesota’s Gov. Mark Dayton is providing such leadership in Minnesota to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness by stating his strong opposition.
Twin Metals, owned by Antofagasta of Chile, and other mining companies are pressuring Minnesota representatives and the federal government to allow sulfide-ore mining on the edge of the Boundary Waters, just upstream from priceless wilderness waterways. This hard-rock mining, which pollutes land and waters with sulfuric acid, heavy metals and other harmful chemicals (known collectively as “acid mine drainage”) is often called the most toxic industry in America.
Every single sulfide-ore mining operation in the nation has, at some point, discharged pollution into adjacent waters or lands, damaging wildlife, waterways, wetlands, forests and local communities. It’s not a matter of whether there will be pollution from the proposed mining operations, but only a question of when will it occur and in what volumes — and, as we’re seeing in Colorado, where the Animas River recently turned orange from a large mine pollution spill, what steps taxpayers and government agencies must undertake to try to clean up the mess.
While we were in Minnesota, we heard from hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts who are determined to prevent pollution that would harm the Boundary Waters’ world-class fishery and unique habitat for wildlife. We listened to story after story about sighting moose and bear, fishing for walleye and northern pike, hunting whitetail deer and grouse, canoeing near loons with osprey and bald eagles overhead and camping under millions of stars.
We are proud to stand with the hunters, anglers and other outdoorsmen and women who formed “Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters” to help stop this short-sighted mining proposal. They are advocating on behalf of the majority of Minnesota residents, who oppose this type of mining near this revered Wilderness Area.
Given the gravity of the threat, we encourage all hunters and anglers to join this cause and prioritize the protection of the Boundary Waters’ more than 1 million acres of clean water and pristine forests and wetlands. This is not simply an issue that matters to Minnesotans. Earlier this year, the National Wildlife Federation’s 49 state affiliates and nearly six million members and supporters around the country, came together and called for national action opposing sulfide mining within the watershed of this magnificent wilderness.
A conservation ethic is integral to our national heritage and fundamental to the pursuit of happiness enshrined at the founding of this great country. This generation of Minnesota’s leaders have the opportunity to build upon the legacy of conservationists, such as President Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1909 established the Superior National Forest, home to the Boundary Waters; Vice President (then Senator) Hubert Humphrey, who worked tirelessly for the Wilderness Act of 1964, which included the original Boundary Waters designation; and Vice President Walter Mondale, Rep. Don Fraser and Rep. Bruce Vento, who all helped expand federal protections.
By acting now, we will fulfill our generation’s responsibilities to protect Minnesota’s outdoor heritage of the Boundary Waters for the sake of all Americans today and tomorrow. Let’s heed the call of the wilderness.
Collin O’Mara is president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation, and Ted Roosevelt IV, the great-great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, is a conservationist and sportsman.
Monarch Butterflies - 100 U.S. Mayors pledge to help save the monarch!
NWF Legislative Update
Week of March 7-11, 2016
The Week Ahead
The House is back this week, taking care of a host of suspension votes early in the week. Later this week they’ll take up a bill to undermine the Clean Air Act by allowing existing electric power plants that convert coal refuse into energy to increase their air pollution emissions under the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS). The Senate plans to sepnd its week working on a GMO labeling bill. Still no progress on the Senate energy bill.
On top of everything else, it is not looking likely the House will be able to do a budget: The House Freedom Caucus will oppose a $1.07 trillion budget backed by Republican leaders, likely assuring that the fiscal package will fail if put up for a vote on the House floor. The opposition means the budget is unlikely to have enough support to garner 218 votes to pass as the Freedom Caucus will vote en bloc. That greatly complicates the House’s ability to move forward with the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government at every level. [Read more from Roll Call and Politico]
The Week in Review
Last week, the House was out and the Senate spent most of the week passing a broad drug treatment and prevention bill, the largest of its kind since a law in 2008 that mandated insurance coverage for addiction treatment. [Read more from Politico]
Dear Colleague Season for FY17: NWF has been sending Hill staffers our recommendations for Dear Colleague letters, making sure Members are aware of their colleagues’ FY17 spending requests which benefit wildlife and the environment. Here are the recommendations we have sent up so far:
- Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy (House + Senate)
- State and Tribal Wildlife Grants (House + Senate)
- Farm Bill Conservation Programs (Senate)
- Environmental Literacy and Watershed Education
o Bay-Watershed Education and Training Program (B-WET) and Competitive Education Program (Senate)
o Bay-Watershed Education and Training Program (B-WET) and Environmental Literacy Grants Program (House)
- Green Climate Fund (House)
- National, Scenic and Historic Trails: Collaborative Landscape Planning proposal (House)
- National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) (House)
- Chesapeake Bay Watershed Protection (House)
Blue Ribbon Panel Released Recommendations: As you already know, last week a group of energy, business and conservation leaders (including NWF’s Collin O’Mara) released their recommendations on how to avert the growing endangered species crisis in this country. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources determined that utilizing a portion of revenues from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to fund state-based conservation could address conservation needs for thousands of species. An annual investment of $1.3 billion from these development revenues into the currently unfunded Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program would allow state fish and wildlife agencies to proactively manage these species reducing taxpayer costs and the regulatory red tape that comes when species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. [Read more in the NWF press statement. And, in case you missed it, check out the video of the National Press Club eventthis coverage by Field & Stream.]
Climate, Energy, and Air
Senate Energy Bill – Still Stalled: Rumors continue to swirl, but at present there is no clear path forward for the Senate energy bill: as old objections are dealt with, new ones arise, and the chances of the Senate finishing this up before taking a break next week isn’t looking likely. “I’m still holding out hope, [but] that window might be closing,” Michigan Sen. Gary Peters said. Michigan Democrats and Sen. Mike Lee haven’t agreed yet on a way to pay for the drinking water infrastructure assistance to Flint and other areas. [Read more from Politico]
Clean Power Plan Hearing in the Senate EPW Committee: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on Wednesday (Mar 9), “Cooperative Federalism: State Perspectives on EPA Regulatory Actions and the Role of States as Co-Regulators.” State environmental agency representatives from DE, VT, AR, WV, and SD. Senate Republicans asked questions of the AR, WV, and SD panelists, and for the most part said regulation is fine but the implementation and imposition of the CPP is the problem. Senate Democrats asked questions of the VT and DE panelists to help reinforce the positive impact and flexibility of the Clean Power Plan. (You can read each panelist’s testimony and watch a recording of the hearing here.)
Canada & Climate: Last week, the U.S. and Canada issued a joint statement on climate, energy, and arctic leadership. In a press conference alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Obama outlined their matching ideologies and some of the steps they’ve agreed to take. He explained that both leaders plan to sign on to last year’s Paris climate change agreement as soon as possible and to double clean energy research and development funding over five years. They’re also on the same page on methane: the two countries, both experiencing booming oil and natural gas production, agreed to significant crackdowns on methane emissions. [Read the White House statement, and read more from The Hill]
Energy, Business & Conservation Leaders Call For $1.3 Billion Annual Investment for States
A 21st Century Vision for Investing in and Connecting People to Nature
Washington, DC (March 2, 2016) – A group of energy, business and conservation leaders today released their recommendations on how to avert the growing endangered species crisis in this country. The Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources determined that utilizing a portion of revenues from energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters to fund state-based conservation could address conservation needs for thousands of species. An annual investment of $1.3 billion from these development revenues into the currently unfunded Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program would allow state fish and wildlife agencies to proactively manage these species reducing taxpayer costs and the regulatory red tape that comes when species are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The number of species petitioned for listing under the Act has increased by 1,000 percent in less than a decade.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to save thousands of at-risk wildlife species by investing in proactive, collaborative conservation. By modernizing how we fund conservation of non-game species, we will bolster our natural resources, strengthen our outdoor recreation economy, reduce regulatory uncertainty, improve public health, and bolster community resilience,” said Collin O’Mara, president and chief executive officer of the National Wildlife Federation.
The Blue Ribbon Panel was assembled in 2014 and met three times to produce recommendations and policy options on the most sustainable and equitable model to fund conservation of the full array of fish and wildlife species. The panel was co-chaired by Freudenthal and John L. Morris, noted conservationist and founder of Bass Pro Shops. It includes representatives from the outdoor recreation retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, conservation organizations, sportsmen’s groups and state fish and wildlife agencies.
“A lot is at stake if we don’t act soon. For every species that is thriving in our country, hundreds of species are in decline. These recommendations offer a new funding approach that will help ensure all fish and wildlife are conserved for future generations,” said former Wyoming governor, David Freudenthal, co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Panel. “We need to start down a new path where we invest proactively in conservation rather than reactively.”
During their meetings, panelists agreed that an increased investment in fish and wildlife conservation makes fiscal sense and is needed to protect our natural heritage. Their recommendation would redirect and dedicate $1.3 billion each year from the over $10 billion in revenues from energy development (both renewable and traditional) and mineral development on federal lands and waters.
“Conservation means balancing the sustainability of fish and wildlife resources with the many needs of humans for clean air and water, land, food and fiber, dependable energy, economic development, and recreation. It is our responsibility to lead the way so our state fish and wildlife agencies have the resources they need to conserve species and manage our natural resources – the future of our industry and the outdoor sports we love depend on this investment,” noted Morris. “Redirecting revenues from energy and mineral development to state-based conservation is a simple, logical solution, and it is now up to our leaders in Congress to move this concept forward.”
State fish and wildlife agencies have primary responsibility for managing species within their borders, as well as conserving important habitats and providing outdoor recreation opportunities. Traditionally, agencies have been funded by sportsmen through license fees and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment and motorboat fuels – most agencies receive very limited funding through general taxpayer dollars. Agencies have not been able to keep pace with the growing challenge as habitat is lost and species decline and hunter and angler participation has declined. States have developed state wildlife action plans identifying 12,000 species in greatest need for conservation efforts. However, limited funding requires prioritization of the species facing the highest risk of endangerment leaving thousands of other species and their habitats hanging in the balance.
Proactive conservation saves tax payer dollars by addressing species needs early so that costly “emergency room” interventions are avoided. Preventing threatened and endangered species listings helps business by averting project delays and losses from forfeited opportunities due to land use regulations. In addition, investing in conservation is vital to sustaining our natural infrastructure that supports numerous indispensable benefits such as pollination, water purification, erosion control, flood control, recreation, food production and cultural amenities.
Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources
Co-Chairs John Morris, Founder, Bass Pro Shops; David Freudenthal, Former Governor State of Wyoming; Crowell & Moring. Members: Kevin Butt, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, NA, Inc.; Richard Childress, Richard Childress Racing Enterprises/NRA; Jeff Crane, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Bruce Culpepper, Shell Americas; John Doerr, Pure Fishing, Inc.; Jim Faulstich, Partners for Conservation; John Fitzpatrick, Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Greg Hill, Hess Corporation; Becky Humphries, National Wild Turkey Federation; Stephen Kellert, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Jennifer Mull, Outdoor Industry Association; John Newman, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.; Mike Nussman, American Sportfishing Association; Margaret O’Gorman, Wildlife Habitat Council; Glenn Olson, National Audubon Society; Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife Federation; Connie Parker, CSParker Group; Charlie Potter, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation; Steve Sanetti, National Shooting Sports Foundation; John Tomke, Wildlife & Hunting Heritage Conservation Council; Jeff Trandahl, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation; James Walker, EDF Renewable Energy; Steve Williams, Wildlife Management Institute; Bob Ziehmer, Missouri Department of Conservation. Ex Officio Members: Michael Bean, US Department Interior; Ronald Regan, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.
Tar Sands Enbridge GXL Pipelines Threaten Wildlife
As we continue to celebrate the November rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, which prevented the pumping of over 800,000 barrels per day of carbon intensive, toxic tar sands oil through America’s heartland, a tar sands threat is growing again in the Great Lakes region. A new report – Enbridge Over Troubled Water: The Enbridge GXL System’s Threat to the Great Lakes – issued by a coalition of partners including the National Wildlife Federation and its Minnesota Conservation Federation details how the Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge, Inc. is seeking to expand tar sands oil transport through its labyrinth of pipelines that wend their way through the Great Lakes states.
The size of this expansion is alarming. Enbridge plans to move about 1.1 million more barrels per day of tar sands oil into the United States from Canada. These plans will potentially threaten communities and wildlife from Maine to Texas.
Tar sands oil transport threatens common loons in the Great Lakes region. Photo by Ian Matchett via Flickr Creative Commons
Tar Sands Oil: A Unique Threat to Wildlife
Tar sands oil poses particularly concerning impacts to wildlife.
For one, its extraction requires massive mining and drilling in the productive boreal evergreen forest region of Canada. The mining, drilling and waste it creates, is destroying and polluting habitat for migratory birds and caribou.
Also, as confirmed by a recent National Academy of Sciences report, heavy tar sands oil is nearly impossible to clean up when it spills – which it inevitably does. In fact, since 2005, Enbridge has been responsible for 763 spills, totaling 93,852 barrels of both light and heavy crude, including tar sands crude, which have spilled and devastated local waterways. Enbridge is a company responsible for polluting approximately 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River in the nation’s largest on-land oil spill in 2010. Birds, mammals, turtles and other wildlife were injured or killed by the spill and sections of the river are still polluted.
Finally, tar sands oil is far dirtier than conventional oil. It is at least 17% more carbon polluting on a lifecycle basis than the average oil in the U.S., fueling global climate change that threatens all wildlife
Great blue heron covered in oil from the Enbridge tar sands oil spill in Kalamazoo. Photo by David Kenyon
The report details Enbridge’s troubling tar sands oil expansion plan, Enbridge GXL:
- ALBERTA CLIPPER DOUBLE CROSS SCHEME: Enbridge has already doubled the amount of tar sands coming over the border on its transboundary Alberta Clipper line, getting backdoor approval from the U.S. State Department to manipulate its border crossing to pour more tar sands oil into the United States and undermine any meaningful review of that expansion. A coalition of tribes and environmental groups challenged this scheme in federal court, but a judge ruled the State Department’s approval of this scheme was not subject to court review.
- LINE 3 IN MINNESOTA: Enbridge is planning to build a new line in a new corridor through Minnesota’s pristine lake country and then abandon its old Line 3, a corroding pipeline built in the late-1960s. This would allow Enbridge to bring an additional 370,000 barrels per day of tar sands across the border.
- LINES 61 AND 66 IN WISCONSIN: In order to transport all the extra tar sands oil Enbridge wants to move across the border throughout the United States, Enbridge plans to expand a major tar sands oil artery that cuts through the heart of Wisconsin, by expanding an existing pipeline and building a new one next to it. This expansion would link pipelines in Minnesota to a web of pipelines in Illinois that would then allow tar sands oil to spiderweb through a series of pipelines and refineries that stretch from Portland, Maine to Houston, Texas and beyond.
- LINE 5 UNDER THE STATES OF MACKINAC: Enbridge continues to carry oil on an aging line that runs along the bottom of the treasured, oft frozen and remote Straits of Mackinac between Lakes Michigan and Huron. While the line does not carry heavy tar sands, a spill from this line could permanently foul one of America’s most pristine and treasured resources.
- SANDPIPER IN MINNESOTA: Enbridge is eager to move fracked oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota though a new pipeline to be placed parallel to the proposed Line 3 replacement. The proposed Sandpiper line would traverse and put at risk land and pristine lakes, rivers, and streams treasured by tribes and outdoor lovers alike, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
I’m following up on Collin’s earlier email on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act markup in the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works. Collin put out the statement below.
The hearing was a pretty partisan affair despite efforts to make it less so by the bill’s bipartisan sponsors and groups like NWF and some colleagues.
The bill passed but the vote was 12 in favor, 8 against. Further, a number of the Democratic opponents made clear they will work to defeat the bill unless changes are made that address their concerns. The upside is that they left a lot of doors open to resolving their concerns and ultimately passing a bill.
As Collin highlights below, we will try to help make that happen.
Just some of the amendments that were added to the bill include:
- · delisting of Great Lakes and Wyoming wolves from the Endangered Species Act;
- · amendments to the Clean Water Act regarding the application of pesticides affecting waterways;
- · National Fish and Wildlife Foundation reauthorization to fund critical fish, wildlife, and habitat restoration projects.
- · National Fish Habitat Conservation Act to conserve fish and their habitat through partnerships that improve fishing, recreation, and communities.
- · Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act reauthorization (S. 520) to secure healthy migratory bird populations through international habitat conservation projects.
If you have any questions or want more specifics please let me know.
It’s a snowy last week of the deer, duck and grouse seasons here in Maryland!
Team Sporting Caucus,
Happy New Year! I want to update you all on our efforts on the sportsmen’s bill. For the last three Congresses, various sportsmen’s bills have failed to pass despite including a package of provisions with bipartisan support that are of interest to hunters, anglers, and conservationists – Land and Water Conservation Fund reauthorization, North American Wetlands Conservation Act reauthorization, sportsmen’s access funding, too many to list.
Unfortunately, all of the previous sportsmen’s bills failed to become law due to partisan conflicts and controversial (and often non-germane) amendments.
We are hopeful things could be different this year and have been focusing our efforts on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act in the Senate. With Malheur in the background, I can think of no better time to show Congressional support for conservation and the North American model.
The Senate got off to a good start. It split the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act between two committees. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee passed it’s part of the bill late last year on a noncontroversial voice vote and without any amendments. Now, we’re working for a similar bipartisan outcome from the Environment and Public Works Committee which is holding a hearing on its portion of the overall bill tomorrow/Wednesday morning. We’ve been working closely with the bill’s sponsors (Senators Murkowski and Heinrich) and we’re all in agreement that we simply cannot allow controversial amendments to sink the chance of the overall bill passing (as they have in previous years).
To this end, all of our communications to Congress on this bill, including the attached letter that we sent today, have been advocating for a commonsense, bipartisan package focused upon areas of agreement. We can achieve a huge victory for conservation and sportsmen, but we must avoid potential poison pills and focus on including those measures which will engender more votes in committee and ultimately on the floor. While I am not fully confident that cooler heads will prevail tomorrow, I am extremely proud of the work that Mike Leahy, Josh Saks, and Adam Kolton have done on this bill.
We’ll keep you posted…
The National Wildlife Federation launched our “Save the Moose” campaign in New Hampshire several years ago — connecting the dots between the decline of moose populations with the impacts of climate change and the need for action. The moose want answers and presidential candidates are now being “Moosed” during the New Hampshire primary.
What does it mean to be “Moosed” you ask? Volunteers and NWF Outreach Consultant Eric Orff are attending events where they hand the presidential candidates a moose plushy, telling them that New Hampshire moose populations have declined by nearly 50% because of hotter temperatures, less snow, and more ticks. And asking the candidates, if elected President what are their plans to address climate change?
While we are striving to educate all the candidates about these important issues, it is important to note the National Wildlife Federation does not endorse or oppose any candidate or organization in connection with this or any other political campaign or election.
Thus far, we have “Moosed” Clinton, Christie, Fiorina, Kasich, Rubio, Cruz, and Bush. Responses from candidates range from agreeing climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed to being dumbfounded when they hear the New Hampshire moose population has declined in the last decade by nearly 50% from 7,500 to 4,000.
Outreach staff Samantha Lockhart, Frank Szollosi, and Amber Hewett are on the ground in New Hampshire recruiting more volunteers to ask questions and do visibility outside of candidate events for the next couple of weeks. Here are a few of the photos of candidates being Moosed.
Week of November 30 – December 4, 2015
The Week Ahead
As the omnibus swirl continues, we wait to see if Congress will reach an FY16 agreement before the Dec 11deadline. And without a compromise to present today (Dec 7), members and senators have a tense week ahead as Congress rushes to complete its year-end work and depart for the holiday season. [Read more from Politicoand The Hill]
The Week in Review
EXPIRED: Export-Import Bank REAUTHORIZED
EXPIRED: Land & Water Conservation Fund
10/29: The U.S. House of Representatives will elect a new Speaker of the House.
10/29: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED
11/3: Congress must raise the debt ceiling
11/20: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED
11/30: COP 21 U.N. Climate Conference Begins in Paris, France
12/4: Surface Transportation Program Expires RENEWED
12/11: FY16 Appropriations lapses
Last week, Congress made progress bills for both education and transportation:
Education Bill Almost There: The House has now passed the conference report for the education bill S.1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act,” with the Senate taking up the vote on Tuesday. This is a multi-year education bill which replaces No Child Left Behind and does a lot to increase STEM education, including some $10-20 billion designated for environmental education. A coalition of groups including NWF sent a letter to the hill supporting the bill, specifically the sections STEM and environmental education sections. [Read more from The Hill]
Agreement Reached on Highway Bill: Congressional negotiators have agreed on a five-year highway reauthorization bill, releasing a conference report just days before the scheduled expiration of surface transportation programs. [Read more from The Hill] The 5-year bill is the longest highway authorization since 2005, and includes a reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank after its five-month lapse. [Read more from WSJ]
“No Anti-Environmental Riders,” Says Senators: NWF and others continue pushing language to keep anti-environmental riders out of any end of year legislation, and were joined by the voices of in 28 Senators in a letter from Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-MD) office “urging Senate appropriators to keep out and remove anti-environmental policy riders in forthcoming legislation to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2016. The senators also are calling on President Obama to veto any omnibus spending package that includes policy riders that threaten environmental and public health by weakening or eliminating laws protecting air, land, water and wildlife. With the added support of Democrats in leadership positions, the senators are in a position to sustain a presidential veto, if needed.” [Read the letter]
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
Arctic Bill Introduced: Today Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation seeking to permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain as Wilderness, the highest form of protection that can be afforded federal public land. Fittingly, their bill has been introduced nearly 55 years ago to the day when President Dwight Eisenhower first protected this Northeast corner of Alaska. [Read more in NWF’s blog, or in Bennet’s press release]
Bison on Its Way to National Mammal: On Thursday (Dec 3), the Senate unanimously passed S. 2032, the National Bison Legacy Act, a bill which adopts the North American bison as the national mammal of the United States. (Here’s hoping the House agrees!) [Read more from Ag Week]
Climate, Energy, and Air
House Votes on Clean Power Plan CRAs: The House voted Tues (Dec 1) on the Congressional Review Act motions of disapproval against the Clean Power Plan, just as the Senate did on Nov 17. See the vote tallies below, noting the 2 Republicans consistently in support of the CPP: Reps. Dold (IL-10) and Hanna (NY-22). This again was a show vote, as Obama has already promised a veto for each of these resolutions. [Read more from Politico, and if you didn’t catch it last time, check out the NWF statement and NWF blog]
10 R no votes: Costello, Curbelo, Dold, Fitzpatrick, Gibson, Hanna, Katko, LoBiondo, Meehan, Ros-Lehtinen
4 D yes votes: Ashford, Bishop, Cuellar, Peterson
2 R no votes: Dold, Hanna
4 D yes votes: Ashford, Bishop, Cuellar, Peterson
Wind, Solar Credits Tied up in Extenders Tussle: The fate of key renewable energy tax credits remains up in the air, as House and Senate leaders continue negotiations on an extenders package they hope to pass before the end of the year. One proposal would extend both the PTC and ITC credits for five years but phase both out over time. It’s also possible that the extensions could be pared back, depending on whether there’s agreement to make a number of other tax credits permanent, which is what House Republicans want. [Read more from The Hill]
New RFS Rule: On Monday (Nov 30), EPA issued its multi-year final rule on the amount of biofuel to be blended into the country’s fuel supply under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While most of the scrutiny of the rule thus far has rightly focused on the level of corn ethanol – by far the largest portion of the mandate up to now and the real driver of attendant land use change – more attention must be paid to the agency’s failure to actually enforce habitat protections built into the law governing the RFS. [Read more in NWF’s blog]
Methane Comments Delivered to EPA: Over 700,000 comments in support of strong standards on methane pollution were delivered to the EPA on Thursday (Dec 3), including 22,729 from NWF. [Check out the @WildlifeAction Tweet, or this post from Clean Air Task Force]
House Passes Energy Package H.R. 8: The House passed the Energy and Commerce Committee’s broad energy legislation on Thursday (Dec 3), sending the Senate a bill aimed at modernizing the electric grid and speeding natural gas exports. Lawmakers voted 249-174 to approve H.R. 8, the “North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015.” President Obama
Highlights from Paris:
Senators in Paris for Climate Conference: A delegation of Democratic Senators broke from debates over the health care law, government spending, and highway funding to fly to Paris for the U.N. climate change conference to show support for the Obama administration’s climate agenda. [Read more from Roll Call]
73 More Businesses to Act On Climate: The White House announced additional commitments from 73 companies from across the American economy who are joining the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. With this announcement, a total of 154 companies will have signed the American Business Act on Climate Pledge to demonstrate their support for action on climate change and the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future. These 154 companies have operations in all 50 states, employ nearly 11 million people, represent more than $4.2 trillion in annual revenue, and have a combined market capitalization of over $7 trillion. (White House)
Remarks by President Obama at the First Session of COP21: “Here, in Paris, we can show the world what is possible when we come together, united in common effort and by a common purpose.” (White House)
NWF Legislative Update
Week of November 16-20, 2015
Congress is in recess this week with the Thanksgiving holiday just a few days away. When they return, we’ll be back in high gear as we kick off Paris climate negotiations and narrow in on the Dec 11 deadline for FY16 appropriations, with special focus on emphasizing no anti-environmental riders.
Last Week in Review
EXPIRED: Export-Import Bank
EXPIRED: Land & Water Conservation Fund
10/29: The U.S. House of Representatives will elect a new Speaker of the House.
10/29: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED
11/3: Congress must raise the debt ceiling
11/20: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED
11/30: COP 21 U.N. Climate Conference Begins in Paris, France
12/4: Surface Transportation Program Expires
12/11: FY16 Appropriations lapses
Congress was back last week, with the House focusing on the Federal Reserve and refugees, and the Senate working on movement on appropriations. Negotiations and activity regarding an end-of-year omnibus appropriations bill remain mostly behind the scenes. Congress has moved to conference about education and is formally in conference on the transportation bill. They passed a short term transportation extension beyond Nov 20, pushing the deadline now to Dec 4 so that the two chambers may work out differences. [Read more from WSJ]
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
Senate Markup of Sportsmen Bill: On Thurs (Nov 19), the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a mark-up on the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S. 556). This bill from Sens. Cantwell and Murkowski has many components touching multiple committees, and this week the ENR committee moved a small piece. Key provisions in the bill include permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), reauthorization of the Federal Land Transaction and Facilitation Act (FLTFA), a provision to ensure federal public land access, a provision to allocate federal funding for public shooting ranges. NWF President and CEO Collin O’Mara commended the committee for advancing the bill in a statement: “The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act is a clear win for wildlife and the national economy. It increases public access to public land—a benefit for everyone from hunters and anglers to paddlers and birdwatchers. This bill also reauthorizes programs to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats on these lands.” [Read the full NWF statement]
House Hearing on Bishop’s LWCF Bill: A House Natural Resources Committee hearing was held on Weds (Nov 18) on Rep. Bishop’s (R-UT-1) LWCF reform bill, the Protecting America’s Recreation and Conservation (PARC) Act, which diverts funding from and otherwise weakens the successful conservation program. Ranking Member Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ-3) is pushing for a clean LWCF reauthorization and continues to urge consideration of H.R. 1814, legislation he introduced in April that now has the support of 195 bipartisan cosponsors. [Read the full Natural Resources Committee Democrats hearing wrap-up press release, and check out our Twitter shout-outs to representatives who spoke at the hearing, including Rep. Zinke (R-MO) and Rep. Huffman (D-CA-2)]
Climate, Energy, and Air
Senate Votes on Clean Power Plan CRAs: The Senate voted Tues (Nov 17) to block the regulations for new and existing power plants in the Clean Power Plan through two Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval. Senators voted 52-46 (existing) and 52-46 (new) (holding every Democrat except for Sens. Manchin, Heitkamp, and Donnelly, while picking up Republican Sens. Ayotte, Collins, and Kirk), but was ultimately a win because the resolutions failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to override President Obama’s promised veto. This is likely the last major vote defending the Clean Power Plan in the Senate. [Read more from The Hill]
On the House side, the House Energy and Commerce Committee also took up CRA motions against the Clean Power Plan this week. The panel passed two resolutions on Weds (Nov 18) from Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1) on 28-21 votes. [Read more from The Hill, and check out Jeff Goldblum’s CPP pitch] [Check out the NWF statement and NWF blog]
Road to Paris: COP climate negotiations begin Nov 30, with Obama and dozens of other world leaders still scheduled to travel to Paris. Meanwhile, Congress has had its own week of climate action, with some in opposition to the momentum building towards Paris. [Read more from The Hill here and here]
National Centers for Environmental Information: Climate Summaries
November 17th, 2015
9 Critter that Climate Change is Impacting
As temperatures rise, sea ice melts and wildfires burn longer, it’s having a dramatic effect on not only our ecosystems but also wildlife. Here are 9 species that are already being impacted by climate change. If we don’t act on climate now, this list is just the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect to see in the years to come.
Have questions about what climate change is doing to wildlife? Join us for a Twitter chat on Wednesday, November 18, at 1 pm ET. Submit your questions on Twitter or Facebook using #askInterior or email them to us at email@example.com
- Sam Lockhart, Maggie Yancey, and Lacey McCormick co-led with our partners at Trout Unlimited a supremely successful and well-timed hunter, angler, and brewer fly-in two weeks ago capped off with a standing room only Clean Water Act Anniversary reception at the Senate. We generated a dozen hunter angler op-eds that are in the process of being placed.
- Our NWF-led water networks, including the America’s Great Waters Coalition, Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, Choose Clean Water Coalition, Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and Water Protection Network all helped us get the word out to watershed groups and get them to urge their senators to vote for clean water this week.
- Just in these last two weeks, affiliates from crucial target states stepped in with key calls, memos, press releases, and emails to deliver key senate votes: these included Colorado Wildlife Federation, Delaware Nature Society, Florida Wildlife Federation, Minnesota Conservation Federation, Montana Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Prairie Rivers Network, New Hampshire Audubon and Virginia Conservation Network.
- Over the longer haul, we have had extraordinary support from numerous other affiliates including Arkansas Wildlife Federation, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Earth Conservation Corps, and North Carolina Wildlife Federation, just to name a few.
- Our field team really powered up to deliver key senate votes as well. Special thanks to Claudia Malloy, Tara Losoff, Sam Lockhart and the entirely field team with a special shout out to the field folks (in addition to affiliates) from Colorado, Missouri, and Pennsylvania who came in for the fly-in and stayed with their target senators right up through this week’s votes.
- Josh Saks, Aviva Glaser, and Taran Catania did some rock star lobbying on the Hill to make sure we held the line on the Barrasso bill. And Adam Kolton and Jim Lyon provided great leadership and coordination from the National Advocacy Center.
- Lacey McCormick led our media effort and Jennifer Janssen, Jane Kirchner, and Meg Morris gave us an awesome on-line presence through action alerts, Twitter, and Facebook.
Our entire Federation (and all who care about wildlife) should be proud of our work to defend the Clean Water Act and the Clean Water Rule against this Congressional onslaught. The work we do—and the way we do it—matters. But don’t take my word for it; I spoke with a few Senators before the vote and each complimented our entire team’s work defending the Rule and for giving them the public support (and cover) to do the right thing. Every Senator, I spoke to ended up voting with us and now we must give them our support when the inevitable attacks come. Despite our legislative successes this week, our work is far from over as we still have to support the Rule in Court, but the fight to defend our streams and wetlands is worth it.
In other news: As this fight was going on in the Capitol, the Administration was unveiling an exciting new Presidential Memorandum that directs Federal Agencies to reduce environmental impacts from various development activities and other disturbances by encouraging private/market-driven investment in mitigation/restoration projects that spur natural resource conservation. I’ve been in discussion with the White House Council on Environmental Quality on parts of this effort and we will share more details as they emerge and work hard to make sure that it is implemented well/achieves the intended outcomes.
And all this came on the heels of my amazing visit last week to the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s NaturePlex—a world-class facility that I encourage everyone to visit. I was down in Millbrook for their fall Board meeting, where I had a chance to learn from Tim Gothard, their exceptionally effective Executive Director, Angus Cooper, board chair, and a few dozen of their board members, about their impressive programs and reach. AWF is exceptionally strong. From education programs at their 350 acre Nature Center and the outdoor classrooms underway in 325 schools to their innovative land-owner stewardship programs (restoration of longleaf pine and native warm season grass) and great game cook-offs and strong partnerships with the state agency. Everything AWF does is first rate and it was inspiring to see them in action…
For all of these reasons (and many, many others), I am more energized every day by our teamwork and the meaningful difference our entire Federation makes for wildlife and all Americans. I hope you’re as optimistic as I am about our future and willing to help us achieve greater heights together!
Thanks to each of you for your hard work! Ok, now off to Maine then Connecticut for our board meeting…
Your Happy Warrior,
NWF Legislative UpdateWeek of November 2-6, 2015
The Week Ahead
Last week was a big one for the environment: the Congress took up a host of attacks against the Clean Water Rule and the Administration released its official rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline. To-do’s for the end of the year remain, with a longer-term transportation bill due by Nov 20 and the FY Appropriations deadline of Dec 11. See where we are on the list below. This week, the House is not in session, and the Senate is currently in but debating non-environment related legislation. We expect a quite (er) week.
EXPIRED: Export-Import Bank
EXPIRED: Land & Water Conservation Fund
10/29: The U.S. House of Representatives will elect a new Speaker of the House.
10/29: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED
11/3: Congress must raise the debt ceiling
11/20: Surface Transportation Program Expires
11/30: COP 21 U.N. Climate Conference Begins in Paris, France.
12/11: FY16 Appropriations lapses
The Week in Review
Highway bill passes House:Nearly 10 years in the making, the House finally got its act together and passed a $325 billion, six-year highway and transit authorization bill. And pass it they did, by an overwhelming 363-64. With both House and Senate transportation bills in the books, the two chambers have established their initial markers heading into conference. The House named some of its conferees Thurs (Nov 5) and the Senate is expected to follow suit this week. But staffers in both chambers have already been pre-conferencing for the last few weeks, trying to reach agreement on as many of the policy provisions as possible before heading into formal negotiations. [Read more from WSJ]
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
Bishop unveils LWCF reform package: On Thursday (Nov 5), House Natural Resources Chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) unveiled his bill to overhaul the Land and Water Conservation Fund, setting up a fight with Democrats and conservation advocates over the future of the program. Bishop’s bill significantly reforms the LWCF, shifting the bulk of its spending toward state-based conservation programs and diminishing the federal government’s ability to make new land acquisitions. Most notably, the bill zeroes out the dedicated percentage for sportsmen access. The draft contrasts sharply with the bipartisan LWCF reform package advanced over the summer by the leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which was roundly endorsed by conservation advocates but drew skepticism from state advocates. Members of both parties in both houses would like to see a straight up reauthorization come to the floor, but it faces staunch opposition from Bishop and others who will only bring the bill to the floor with changes. Bishop is planning to hold the first hearing on his bill on Nov 18. [Read more from The Hill and USA Today]
Federal Agencies to reduce environmental impacts: On Tues (Nov 3), President Obama unveiled a new Presidential Memorandum directing five federal agencies to streamline regulations for offsetting environmental harm and to promote independent mitigation efforts. The memorandum — sent to the secretaries of Defense, Interior and Agriculture and the administrators of U.S. EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — establishes for the first time a “net benefit goal” for natural resource use. At minimum, the memo calls for no net loss of land, water, wildlife and other ecological resources from federal actions or permitting, aiming to reduce environmental impacts from various development activities and other disturbances by encouraging private/market-driven investment in mitigation/restoration projects that spur natural resource conservation. [Read the Presidential Memorandum]
Two big wins for the Clean Water Rule: (Round 1) Last week, the Clean Water Act was put to the test with an unprecedented assault on both the Clean Water Rule and the Act itself. Working together with all of our partners, we were able to hold our 42-Senator firewall and block Senate action on Senator Barrasso’s S. 1140, legislation which would have not only nullified the Clean Water Rule, but would have also opened the Clean Water Act itself to amendment. This measure was successfully defeated when the Senate failed to get enough votes to move the bill forward. The vote on cloture failed to receive 60 votes – the final vote count was 57 to 41. (Round 2) Almost immediately after the failed attempt to pass Sen. Barrasso’s bill, the Senate moved on to consideration of S.J. Res 22, which is the Senate’s attempt to use the Congressional Review Act to invalidate the Clean Water Rule. The motion, which only needs a simple majority, passed by a vote of 53 to 44. However, we received more than enough support to make sure that Congress will not be able to override a Presidential veto. Additionally, we picked up a few more members in this vote – Sens. McCaskill (D-MO) and Collins (R-ME). Significantly, all of the swing Senators voted against moving the bill forward. Among a variety of NWF and sportsmen letters we sent to the Hill opposing both bills, we also sent this fun blast:
As debate continues and a vote is held today on the Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval on the Clean Water Rule, we wanted to thank the Senator for their steadfast support of clean water – from us at the National Wildlife Federation and all of our varied “constituents.”
|We couldn’t BEAR it if we didn’t have clean water!||I love it HER-ON the waterfront!||Thanks for not MOOSE-ing around with clean water!||Everyone OTTER support the Clean Water Rule!|
Climate, Energy, and Air
POTUS Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline: President Obama announced his rejection on Friday (Nov 6) of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the Alberta-to-Gulf of Mexico project threatened to undermine an effort to combat global warming. Speaking in the White House Roosevelt Room and joined by Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama stressed the importance of U.S. leadership in a global push on climate change. [Below: check out the NWF statements, read highlights from Obama’s speech below, and check out these articles (some featuring familiar “wildlife”):]
- NWF press release, blog on the announcement, and blog on KXL heroes
- Some helpful articles: timeline of Keystone XL chronology (Politico),why Obama rejected KXL (Vox), inside story of the campaign that killed it (Vox), what critics of the Keystone campaign misunderstand about climate activism (Vox)
- Highlights from Obama’s speech:
America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change. And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership. And that’s the biggest risk we face—not acting.
Today, we’re continuing to lead by example. Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.
As long as I’m President of the United States, America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world. And three weeks from now, I look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in Paris, where we’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can.
- Familiar “wildlife” featured in a host of news outlets:
|New York Times||Boston Globe||Washington Post|
|Getty Images||Getty Images||Getty Images|
Road to Paris: So far, we’ve got some serious momentum going into the Paris climate talks, especially with Obama’s recent Keystone XL decision [read more from WaPo], even in the face of strong GOP resistance at home [read more from National Journal]. (And fun fact: on Thurs, Nov 5, scientists warned LBJ on climate change exactly 50 years ago [The Guardian].)
House subcommittee passes CPP CRAs: The House subcommittee on Energy and Power passed the first 2 Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval attacking the Clean Power Plan (H.J. Res. 71 and H.J. Res. 72), now forwarded to full committee. The Senate is now gearing up for their resolutions (S.J. Res. 23 and S.J. Res 24), but it looks like the timing is now later November, closer to Paris.
Decision Reached at 27th Meeting to the Montreal Protocol: “Today, countries across the world took the historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. A 2016 amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs will achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions and could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.” [Read EPA’s full release, read more from Washington Examiner]
“Just Say No” Strategy for Clean Power Plan Losing Traction: Back in March, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell encouraged states to “just say no” to the Clean Power Plan. He meant that they should refuse to develop state plans to implement the rules, which would require all states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their electricity sectors. But now it seems that states are abandoning McConnell’s strategy, having discovered that it is ill-advised. The signals are becoming ever clearer that although a notional partisan battle over the Clean Power Plan will continue, behind the scenes almost all states have resigned themselves to developing compliance plans. [Read the full article from Vox]
Election Day: Highlights from Tuesday’s Election Day include:
- GOP wins Kentucky’s governor’s race – turning a coal state red in a critical moment for Clean Power Plan state implementation plans [read more from Politico]
- Virginia Democrats fails to capture state senate [read more from WaPo]
- Washington pushes to save endangered animals [read more from the Olympian]
- Read additional highlights from CNN
NWF Legislative Update
Week of October 26-30, 2015
The Week(s) Ahead
HI All. Last week the Congress checked of some must-dos, with the raising of the debt ceiling and passage of a budget deal. See where we are on the list below. This week the focus will be in the Senate as they take up a bill and a CRA motion to invalidate the Clean Water Rule.
EXPIRED: Export-Import Bank
EXPIRED: Land & Water Conservation Fund
10/29: The U.S. House of Representatives will elect a new Speaker of the House. 10/29: Surface Transportation Program Expires EXTENDED 11/3: Congress must raise the debt ceiling
: Surface Transportation Program Expires
11/30: COP 21 U.N. Climate Conference Begins in Paris, France.
12/11: FY16 Appropriations lapses
The Week in Review
Paul Ryan Elected Speaker: Paul Ryan was elected the next Speaker of the House on Thurs (Oct 29). Ryan surpassed the majority of votes cast overall that he needed to become speaker, and even picked up the support of many of the most conservative members of the House; 236 of the 245 Republicans voted in support. [More from Vox and The Hill] [Read about how Ryan went from no-chance to next speaker from Vox]
Budget Deal Reached: Congress passed a two-year budget deal on Friday (Oct 30). The agreement will raise the debt ceiling and set top-line budget levels for the next two years, allowing for greater funding of conservation programs. [WaPo] [Check out the NWF press release, read more about the deal from Vox, learn the background of sequester spending caps from NY Times]
Temporary Transportation Funding: Congress passed and Obama signed into law a 3-week highway bill (H.R. 3819) on Weds (Oct 28) in order to buy time for a 6-year plan before the new Nov 20 deadline. The Senate has already passed a six-year highway bill in July, but the measure only includes three years’ worth of guaranteed funding. The House, meanwhile, has worked on a six-year, $325 billion transportation bill that similarly contains only three years of guaranteed funding. The House would cut off the nation’s infrastructure spending in three years if Congress does not come up with a way to pay for the rest of the spending. The lower chamber is expected to bring the multiyear highway bill up for a vote on the floor of the House this week, clearing the way for a long-sought conference on infrastructure spending between the chambers. [The Hill]
House Voted to revive the Ex-Im Bank: The support of nearly every Democrat made it possible for 127 Republicans to circumvent GOP leadership and pass legislation to reopen the Export-Import Bank on Tues (Oct 27). The bipartisan, 313-118 victory was made possible through successful execution of a “discharge petition,” a quirky procedural maneuver that forces floor consideration of any bill within a certain window of time, provided enough members sign on in support. [Roll Call]
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
Obama Talks LWCF: President Obama waded into the debate over the Land and Water Conservation Fund last week, using his weekly radio address to call on Republicans in Congress to approve a reauthorization of the program. The president’s speech touched on conservation and climate more broadly than just the fund, but it was his main action item. “Now Congress has to do its job. This month, even as Republicans in Congress barely managed to keep our government open, they shut down something called the Land and Water Conservation Fund … Nearly every single county in America has benefited from this program. It has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Republicans in Congress should reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund without delay … After all, as Pope Francis reminds us so eloquently, this planet is a gift from God – and our common home.”
More Buzz about LWCF: Senators took to the floor yet again on Weds (Oct 28) to talk about the standoff between a vote on a clean TSCA-reform bill and permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Act. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) called the situation “nothing short of absurd.” Says Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): “To suggest that I shouldn’t have the right to amend any piece of legislation is to take every right I have as a U.S. senator. I’m going to hold up the chemical bill until there’s an opportunity to either amend it or to offer the Land and Water Conservation Fund be permanently extended on another piece of legislation.” [Bloomberg BNA]
Two-pronged Attack on Clean Water Rule: Tomorrow (Tues, Nov 3), the Senate will take up the The Federal Water Quality Protection Act (S. 1140), which blocks the current Clean Water Rule and sets new criteria for future rules under the Clean Water Act. We expect a vote on cloture on the motion to proceed (60 vote threshold) will fail and the Senate will move on to a Congressional Review Act motion of disapproval (S.J. Res. 22) to invalidate the Clean Water Rule. [NOTE: Today, NWF will be sending a letter to the Hill opposing the Barrasso bill and the CRA].
Climate, Energy, and Air
Clean Power Plan CRAs Coming: The Clean Power Plan is facing myriad opposition. [The Hill] Of most immediate concern, we expect votes on both Congressional Review Act motions for new (S.J. Res. 23) and existing (S.J. Res 24) power plants to come to the Senate floor after the water CRA, sometime the weeks of Nov 9 or 16, with one likely immediately following the other. In the House, the CPP CRAs (H.J. Res. 71, H.J. Res. 72) will run through the committee process with subcommittee markup this week (Tues, Nov 3 at 1pm), with full committee markup likely the week following Nov 16. Expected later is a third CRA in the CPP CRA “suite,” this one on ozone (making a total of 4 CRAs at play, including the Clean Water Rule). States have already begun suing the EPA over the ozone rule. [The Hill]
Court won’t block climate rule before UN Paris summit: A federal court will not decide on whether to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan until the end of December at the earliest. That means the rule will be in place when talks at the United Nations’ global climate pact in Paris wrap on Dec 11. Some opponents of the EPA’s regulations wanted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to issue a stay before or during the talks in Paris to send a message to negotiators that Obama’s pledged emissions cuts are in trouble. But the schedule announced Thursday gives opponents and the EPA until Dec 23 to file legal requests, at which point a three-judge panel is set to decide whether the rule ought to be blocked. [The Hill ]
Moderate GOP Senators form green working group: Four centrist Senate Republicans are banding together to call for policies to protect the environment. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) describe the group as a loose coalition that will meet regularly to come up with Republican pro-environment policies and enlist more GOP senators to support them. The group includes two senators in Ayotte and Kirk who face tough reelection races next year in states won by President Obama in 2012. Their races will help determine which party has the Senate majority in 2017. Each of the members of the group is on record as agreeing with the scientific consensus that human activity causes climate change, something very few GOP lawmakers endorse. And while only Ayotte supports President Obama’s carbon rule for power plants, all four of the senators say they are concerned that the wrong climate policies could hurt the economy and jobs. [Politico, full story at The Hill]
Sens. Lead Effort to Require Federal Government to Measure Impact of Outdoor Recreation on U.S. Economy: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) are introduced a bill on Thurs (Oct 29) that would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to assess the financial value of outdoor recreation in the economy. “The outdoor recreation sector is a critical sector of our economy — and it’s time we start counting it,” Shaheen said in a statement. [Shaheen’s press release]
NWF Legislative Update
Week of October 5-9, 2015
The Week Ahead
The House and Senate will be on recess this week for Columbus Day. When they return, focus will be on raising the debt ceiling and avoiding a global economic crisis.
The Week in Review
The big news from Congress this week was the postponement of the Republican Conference’s election of a new Speaker of the House. [Read this article from Vox explaining the House leadership crisis.] Things remain up in the air but certainly will impact any and all legislation going forward.
Appropriations in the Senate: While the House focuses on electing a new Speaker, the Senate is focusing on appropriations. However, instead of following a typical appropriations procedure, different bills are being combined into four packages (minibuses) organized around party politics. The Senate is considering a motion to proceed on the House version of an energy and water appropriation, but Democrats are expected to filibuster until they secure an agreement to lift overall budget caps.
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
NWF and Senators Push for Movement on TSCA: On Tuesday (Oct 6), NWF President and CEO Collin O’Mara joined 11 Senators including bill sponsors Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM), David Vitter (R-LA), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK); Bonnie Lautenberg, widow of former Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ); and other supporters of chemical safety reform for a press conference on the U.S. Capitol grounds to call on Congress to pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697). The press conference came on the heels of the bill getting its 59th and 60th cosponsors, Sens. Markey and Durbin, who worked became cosponsors after their amendments to strengthen the bill was accepted. [Read NWF’s statement, read the press release on the conference, and be sure to check out the picture below to spot Collin standing with the supporting Senators… and Dr. Oz(?)]
Despite the press conference and widespread support for the bill, TSCA is currently being held up because of Sens. Burr, Ayotte, and other lawmakers looking to attach a LWCF conservation measure to this bill. [Read more from Bloomberg BNA, or The Hill]
The Fight for LWCF Continues: Since the Land and Water Conservation Fund expired on Sep 30, efforts to reauthorize it have begun to ramp up. Continuing the effort, Senator Grijalva held a press conference on Wednesday (Oct 7). Additionally, during the markup of the sportsmen bill (discussed below), Sen. Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced an amendment to reauthorize the LWCF to press Republicans on the issue. [Read the press release, or watch highlights from the hearing]. Across the Capitol, Senators Heinrich, Ayotte and Cantwell each offered motions to move an extension, but were blocked each time.
House Resources Committee Reports Sportsmen Bill: The House Natural Resources Committee reported the House Sportsmen’s Bill, The “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act” (H.R. 2406). the bill was approved on a party-line 21-15 vote after the committee considered six amendments to the bill. NWF weighed in to thank the committee for taking up sportsmen legislation and also raised some opportunities for improvement. In particular, the SHARE Act does not include many of the important conservation provisions that are included in the “Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement (SCORE) Act” (H.R. 3173) – such as reauthorization for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
NWF Legislative Update
Week of September 28 – October 2, 2015
HI All, After a long hiatus, our weekly Legislative Update is back. With the same goal of keeping the NWF family up to speed on Congressional and Administrative actions that relate to NWF’s priorities, we’ve made a few changes to make the Update more relevant and readable. We have:
- restructured the categories around the NWF Strategic Programmatic Priorities 2015/2016
- included more links, so that you may easily find more information should you want it
- If a link is within the paragraph of text explaining the event/issue, it will link directly to information on bill, hearing, etc.
- If a link falls at the end of an event/issue, it will provide outside reporting and/or additional editorializing (with sources noted).
- added NWF’s stance on different issues wherever possible, typically in the form of press releases or blogs
Improvements will continue as we figure out what works and what doesn’t over the next few weeks. If you have any feedback, please let us know and please stick with us as we work to streamline and improve the legislative update.
I also want to introduce everybody to Taran Catania who just started as NWF’s new Legislative Coordinator and will be helping us with all things legislative including putting together these updates. And with no further ado we return to your weekly scheduled update.
The Week Ahead
This week both the House and Senate are in session. The Senate has no plans to take up conservation related measures, but we remain hopeful that soon they will take up chemical safety reform, otherwise known as TSCA. Tomorrow, Collin will join a number of advocates and Senators at ta press event to urge action on the bill.
In the House, there are a number of hearings on EPA authority as well as markup of the SHARE Act, the House Sportsmen Bill on Thursday in the Natural Resources Committee. We also expect the House to vote on a bill to lift the oil export ban on Friday, which NWF opposes.
Details on some key hearings follow.
Hearing: Oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (Oct 7, 10am)
The Week in Review
Habitat Protection, Restoration, and Resilience
Land and Water Conservation Fund Expires: The 50-year-old LWCF was not renewed and expired Thursday (Oct 1). The law was authorized at $900 million to pay for federal land acquisitions, private land conservation easements, state recreation projects, and endangered species grants. It’s been funded annually by revenues from offshore oil and gas development, and the program’s expiration means these companies have stopped paying into it. Last minute efforts to save the LWCF were made by Senate Republicans (Sens. Alexander, Ayotte, Burr, Collins, and Danes) and Democrats to extend the program for 60 days. Despite their efforts, they were unable to gain any momentum. [Learn about LWCF from NWF, or read more from Slate]
Toxic Substances Control Act Reform Stalled: Concerned by provisions that would pre-empt state action on chemicals, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) was close to a deal with the sponsors of the Udall-Vittter TSCA reform bill (S.697) that would allow it to proceed on the Senate floor. New wrinkles emerged as Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) sought to attach an amendment to reauthorize the LWCF. Because of these added complications, the bill is currently stalled. [Read more from Bloomberg BNA]
Western Governors on Western Resources: On Wednesday (Sep 30), the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing with four Western governors on “Respecting State Authority in Regards to Resource Management and Energy Development.” Governors Matt Mead (R-WY), Steve Bullock (D-MT), Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), and Gary Herbert (R-UT) all expressed major concerns about a swath of federal policies that disenfranchise the states from managing land, water, and energy resources. There was talk of an alternative agenda by Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) to reauthorize the LWCF, but no such luck. (The National Governors Association had sent a letter on Sep 29 asking Congress to reauthorize the program.) [Read the hearing memo]
National Defense Authorization Act + (No) Grouse Listing: House lawmakers pulled the plug Tuesday (Sep 29) on reaching broad bipartisan agreement on the NDAA (H.R.1735), likely dooming any long-shot chance as well that this Congress will produce the first major update in energy law in at least eight years. Luckily this means no anti-enviro riders or amendments have been passed with it, such as that limiting protection for the sage-grouse. This comes on the heels of the cooperative agreement to protect grouse with no ESA listing needed. [Read NWF’s release, or read more from the Washington Post]
Forum Held on Improving the ESA: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife held a briefing for all EPW Members entitled, “Improving the Endangered Species Act: Perspectives from the Fish and Wildlife Service and State Governors.” The Committee was briefed by Dan Ashe (Director, US Fish and Wildlife Service), Matt Mead (Governor, Wyoming), Steve Bullock (Governor, Montana), with both governors appearing on behalf of the Western Governors Association.
Hearing on Clean Water Rule: There was a contentious Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Tuesday (Sep 29) in whichArmy Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary Jo Ellen Darcy was grilled over her department’s role in crafting the Clean Water Rule with the EPA. [Read the testimony, read NWF’s release, or read more from Agri-Pulse]
Hearing on Ocean Monuments: The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on “The Potential Implications of Pending Marine National Monument Designations” on Tuesday (Sep 29). The hearing focused on designations off Cape Cod in New England and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. There was significant pushback from Republican committee members over the concern to create protected areas at the cost of commercial fishing. [Read the committee’s release]
Climate, Energy, and Air
Oil Exports Ban Loses Traction: On Thursday (Oct 1), a bill (S.1312) to lift the 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports the passed the Senate Banking Committee. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), passed 13 to 9. Heitkamp was the only Democrat to vote for the measure. However, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) added a controversial amendment that would make Iran compensate U.S. victims of Iranian backed terrorism. Because the White House will likely oppose the Toomey amendment, in addition to having already said it opposes legislation to lift the ban at this time, the bill will probably go nowhere. (As recounted recently in Collin’s WSJ blog, NWF does not support lifting the oil export ban.) [Read more from Reuters]
Super Pollutants Bill Reintroduced: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) reintroduced their bipartisan Super Pollutants Act (S.2076) on Wednesday (Sep 30). The bill is targeted at reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), which include refrigerants, methane, and so-called black carbon, which comes largely from diesel engines, cook stoves, and open fires. Compared to CO2, these compounds break down significantly faster and can be hundreds or thousands of times more effective at trapping heat. SLCPs are responsible for 40 percent of global warming to date [Center for Climate and Energy Solutions]. The bill was first introduced last year and did not get out of committee. Its reintroduction was timed to coincide with the pope’s Congressional address last week. [Read more from Think Progress]
New “Fenceline” Rule on Oil Refinery Pollution: As a “public health necessity,” the EPA has issued a new rule on air pollution generated by petroleum refineries. These updated Clean Air Act standards, which will be implemented in 2018, reduce toxic air pollutants by 5,200 tons and cut 50,000 tons of volatile organic compounds from the air every year. [Read more from The Hill]
Ozone Regulations Tightened: The Obama administration Thursday (Oct 1) tightened its regulations for smog-causing ozone pollution. The new standard is 70 parts per billion, down from a limit of 75 ppb set under the George W. Bush administration. Industry groups posed furious opposition, arguing the limits should remain at preexisting levels, while green groups are disappointed that the new standard is still far too lax. Thursday’s move comes four years after the White House crushed the hopes of environmentalists and public health groups by postponing any action on ozone until after Obama’s reelection. [Read NWF’s blog, or read more from Politico]
Senate Evaluates EPA Air Rules: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on Tuesday (Sep 29) to consider the EPA’s air rules, including the Clean Power Plan and the ozone rules, and their economic impacts. Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Janet McCabe testified. [Read her testimony]
RAPID Act Passes in House: The House passed the RAPID Act (H.R. 348) last Friday (Sep 25) to streamline environmental permitting requirements (weakening NEPA) and prohibit governmental agencies from considering the social cost of carbon during the construction permit application process. The White House issued a statement of administration policy the previous week threatening to veto the measure should it come to President Obama’s desk, finding that the measure would encourage litigation by requiring agencies to rush their environmental impact reviews.
Continuing Resolution until Dec 11: Congress passed a three-month continuing resolution without policy riders (read: no new anti-enviro riders/amendments) on Wednesday (Sep 30), avoiding shutdown for now and setting the stage for a showdown for December 11. Before then, the House and Senate will have to negotiate new spending levels, as Obama has said he would veto any long-term spending bill that adheres to current caps. Further complicating negotiations, the December 11 deadline comes around the time when Congress will have to make decisions on raising the debt ceiling, expiring tax breaks, and a long-term highway bill. [Read more from Roll Call or the Wall Street Journal]
US-China Climate Pact: The United States and China outlined a strategy last Friday (Sep 25) for an international agreement on climate change while each nation committed to new measures for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. China committed to starting a national emissions trading system to reduce GHG emissions and made a $3.1 billion commitment to help poorer countries move away from fossil fuels, and the two countries together announced changes intended to favor cleaner electricity, agreed to limiting public infrastructure project financing for projects around the world that feature high pollution and emissions, committed to implementing fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles by 2019, and reaffirmed their 2014 commitments, among other things. Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping used the Chinese premier’s official state visit to the White House to encourage successful climate negotiations at the end of the year in Paris. [Read NWF’s release, or read more from The Hill]
Obama to UN: Addressing the United Nations in New York on Monday (Sep 28), President Obama called on world leaders to, among other things, reach an ambitious international climate agreement at the end of the year in Paris. The previous day, in addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Summit, he, like Pope Francis, linked poverty with climate change.
Shell Says “Shell No” to Itself: Shell has abandoned plans to drill in the Arctic “for the foreseeable future.” [Read more from Vox]
National Wildlife Federation
NWF Urges Senate to Act on Chemical Safety Reform
October 6, 2015 – Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, joined a bipartisan group of senators on Capitol Hill today urging action on legislation to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time in 39 years.
O’Mara said today:
“Today I joined with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators calling for the Senate to pass compromise legislation improving chemical safety protections for America’s wildlife and public health. I commend Sen. Burr’s efforts to renew the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a critical wildlife protection that Congress should never have been allowed to expire, but attaching it to Toxic Substances Control Act reform is not the right way to achieve LWCF renewal.
“In an era marked by partisan gridlock, this is a chance to achieve real, meaningful progress to strengthen chemical safety and protect both fish and wildlife and the sportsmen and women who depend on them. This bill would move us one step closer towards ensuring safe and healthy wildlife across our nation and I urge Congress to find a path forward.”
Visit the National Wildlife Federation Media Center at NWF.org/News.
Lots of final EPA rules expected this week. Here they are, FYI:
- Pesticide worker protection standards: Yesterday, EPA announced stronger protections for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families working on farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. These revisions to the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard will afford farmworkers similar health protections that are already afforded to workers in other industries. http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-worker-safety/revisions-worker-protection-standard
- Air quality / benzene standards in neighborhoods near petroleum refineries: Today, the EPA has updated air pollution standards to further control toxic air emissions from petroleum refineries. Exposure to toxic air pollutants, such as benzene, can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues and can increase the risk of developing cancer. The rule requires first-of-its-kind fenceline monitoring to better protect and inform nearby communities, while also strengthening emission controls for flares, pressure relief devices, storage tanks, and delayed coker operations that will reduce thousands of tons of hazardous air pollutants. http://www3.epa.gov/ttn/atw/petref.html
- Water pollution standards for power plants: (expected tomorrow) Steam electric power plants contribute over half of all toxic pollutants discharged to surface waters by all industrial categories currently regulated in the United States under the Clean Water Act. Discharges of these toxic pollutants are linked to cancer, neurological damage, and ecological damage. Many of these toxic pollutants, once in the environment, remain there for years. The proposed rule would strengthen the existing controls on discharges from these plants. The proposal sets the first federal limits on the levels of toxic metals in wastewater that can be discharged from power plants, based on technology improvements in the industry over the last three decades. http://www2.epa.gov/eg/proposed-effluent-guidelines-steam-electric-power-generating-category
- Air quality standards for ground-level ozone / smog: (expected Thursday) The EPA has proposed to strengthen the national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone is a primary component of smog. The proposed revisions are based on scientific evidence about ozone and its effects on people and sensitive trees and plants. The EPA is expected to set a new ozone limit of 70 parts per billion or less in the atmosphere, down from the existing standard of 75. http://www3.epa.gov/ozonepollution/actions.html
Exporting Oil and Protecting Wildlife
With U.S. petroleum production likely to increase, here’s how to safeguard the environment along the way.
With a vote in the House expected next week to allow the export of U.S. crude oil, most arguments are about the implications for gas prices, refining jobs and domestic output, or about the geopolitical ramifications of growing Russian and eventually Iranian oil exports. Missing in the debate are the consequences for the nation’s wildlife.
Increasing oil production will further degrade more than a million square acres of wildlife habitat and threaten at-risk species. It will also adversely affect the experiences of millions of American hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts, as well as the local jobs that support these activities.
With momentum appearing to build on both sides of the aisle for repealing export restrictions, Congress should insist that it be coupled with conservation measures to mitigate the impact of expanded oil development on wildlife and natural resources. These measures should include:
Substantial funding to restore wildlife habitat. Thousands of wildlife species in the U.S. face extinction in the coming decades, primarily due to the fragmentation of their habitat, forest fires, prolonged droughts and invasive species being exacerbated by a changing climate. Dedicating $1.3 billion annually to the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Account would help recover most of these at-risk species. This investment would not only be good for wildlife and outdoor recreation. It would provide industry with greater regulatory certainty by reducing future listings under the Endangered Species Act and avoiding more restrictive, and often expensive, emergency-recovery measures.
Permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Created in 1965, this fund protects America’s great outdoor spaces but is set to expire at the end of September. Congress should ensure that it is reauthorized and fully funded at $900 million annually.
Long-term extension of renewable-energy tax incentives. These incentives help promote appropriately sited clean energy, like solar and wind, and help offset increased carbon pollution from oil production. Clean-energy projects also should be able to employ the favorable tax treatment accorded to master limited partnerships, which are now available only to oil and gas ventures.
Hold the oil industry to high standards to minimize impacts on wildlife and public health. Loopholes that exempt the oil industry from some provisions of the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts should be closed. Also, the definitions of fuels that pay into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is financed primarily by an 8-cents-per-barrel tax on oil, should be expanded to include tar sands.
While my organization, the National Wildlife Federation, has deep concerns about lifting the ban on oil exports, the conservation measures outlined here would help secure the future of America’s wildlife and our outdoor heritage. The cost of these measures, about $3.2 billion annually, is a fraction of what the Energy Information Administration projects is a $29 billion annual increase in gross profits for oil companies and the expected royalties and tax revenues for the U.S. Treasury. By investing in conservation to mitigate impacts on wildlife, we will demonstrate a renewed bipartisan commitment to fulfilling our stewardship responsibilities.
Hey team, we have some breaking news that’s big.
Late yesterday, we announced that the National Wildlife Federation and our state affiliate, the New Hampshire Audubon Society, will be the co-sponsors of two presidential forums in New Hampshire on energy and the environment – one for the Republican presidential candidates on October 8, and one for the Democrats on October 23. These forums are hosted by Franklin Pierce University and will be moderated by two New Hampshire conservation leaders: former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg for the Republican forum, and former New Hampshire State Senator and Public Utilities Commissioner Clifton Below for the Democratic one. The news release on the event is attached.
This is a big deal, because it’s the first time and place in the 2016 presidential election cycle where there will be any significant discussion of conservation. The two Republican debates thus far have barely mentioned the topic, and the coverage of the Democratic candidates has virtually ignored it. In the event being sponsored by NWF and NH Audubon, conservation will be the only topic of conversation by the candidates from both parties – and it will be on a national stage. This will begin to put conservation back as a national priority where it belongs.
I’m proud that we are the first conservation organization in the country that is working to get this type of engagement done with both parties. While we still have a ways to go, several candidates have already committed to personally participating in the Republican forum on October 8, and we expect more. The strong, bipartisan brand and reputation of NWF and New Hampshire Audubon made this possible. And the incredible work of our New Hampshire campaign director, Sheridan Brown, the entire Northeast office, especially Curtis Fisher and Catherine Bowes, and the volunteer leadership of NWF Action Fund Board member Jamey French are making it happen.
You’ve heard me say that conservation is not Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal, but an American value, and that our Federation is the organization in the nation that can most effectively bring our people and our leaders back to that value. These forums are another important step towards doing just that.
We’ll have more updates as the events draw closer. Stay tuned!
Your Happy Warrior,
Compared to US, China has nearly double the wind & nearly double the solar:
Just a really quick note to celebrate a huge win for wildlife and sportsmen/women that happened yesterday. As many of you know, I have a huge affinity for fly fishing for rainbows/cutthroats and hiking in the spectacular Sawtooth and Boulder-White Clouds region of Idaho. (We hold an annual event there with supporters every July and it is simply heavenly.)
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed “The Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Jerry Peak Wilderness Additions Act” championed by Congressman Mike Simpson and Senator Jim Risch, which permanently protects nearly 300,000 acres of this region (it had already passed the House and now heads for the President’s signature).
This is a huge deal for three reasons: 1) the area provides a wide range critical habitat fish and wildlife, from bighorn sheep, moose, elk, mule deer, mountain goats, black bear, pronghorn, and sage grouse to chinook salmon and steelhead, native west-slope cutthroat trout and bull trout; 2) the region provides some of the most important hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and canoeing/kayaking experiences in the entire intermountain west; and 3) it’s the first standalone Congressional Wilderness designation since 2009.
I’m proud that Michael Gibson and the Idaho Wildlife Federation helped lead the charge on the ground for permanent federal protection by coordinating Sportsmen for Boulder-White Clouds and I’m proud that our Federation team in Washington and in the Rockies pushed hard on the Hill to get the bill across the finish line. I am also grateful for the foundations and donors that supported this important work.
There’s still more work to do to protect the East Fork Salmon watershed, which provides critical fisheries habitat for salmon and steelhead, and to restore habitat and remove dams that hinder fish passage, but today let’s celebrate this win! It’s another great example of our entire Federation team pulling together to get big things done. I’m excited about this important victory for wildlife, but also because the bill’s passage demonstrates that conservation does not need to be a partisan issue, but rather an American value!
Your Happy Warrior,
p.s. If you haven’t been to this majestic region, I’ve attached a picture of me fishing in the area so you can appreciate why I love it so much (and why you should consider joining our Sun Valley trip next year!)
In a few hours, the President will unveil the final Clean Power Plan that will significantly reduce carbon emissions and drive investments in clean energy over the next fifteen years. (I’ve attached the details that Jim Murphy compiled.)
This is a huge win for wildlife. Our entire conservation army of outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists can attest to the changes that we’re seeing to habitat across the nation and the impact that it’s having on wildlife populations. Today’s announcement is the most significant step in history to address these impacts on wildlife and our natural resources.
As I get ready to head over to the Rose Garden to represent our team, I wanted to thank each of you for the incredible role our entire Federation played in making today a reality. So many people across our Federation have poured their heart and soul into achieving significant federal progress on reducing emissions over the past decade—and I would like to thank all of them, starting with my predecessor Larry Schweiger, who is among America’s very best climate leaders, our entire field team under Claudia Malloy’s leadership, our policy team at the National Advocacy Center, and amazing state and territorial affiliates—collectively we have mobilized millions of Americans towards action through events, reports, media efforts, etc.
Today’s victory is a result of a huge team effort and I am proud of all of you! Many challenges still lay ahead defending and implementing the rule, but let us all celebrate this important milestone!
From: Jim Murphy
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2015 9:33 AM
Hi All –
Today marks a truly historic day of climate action. President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy are set to issue the final Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first control on power plant emissions of carbon pollution. Power plants are the nation’s largest source of emissions, comprising about 40% of total US carbon emissions. These standards follow emissions standards for vehicles issued earlier by the Obama Administration. All of these standards are required by law under the Clean Air Act, signed by President Nixon and later revised to address acid rain emissions by the first President Bush, and two major Supreme Court cases in 2007 and 2011.
I’m attaching the fact sheet that the WH has released on the CPP. Details and evaluation will be occurring over the next few days (and beyond – it’s complicated). Lots of action will be occurring, with us releasing a statement, an action alert, blogs, and highlighted this afternoon by a press conference where Collin will speaking along with other conservation group CEOs.
A big round of applause for all the great work so many of you have done over the years to bring us to this point. It is truly a momentous day for climate action to protect wildlife, and it would not have been possible without all the hard and great work NWF staff, affiliate staff and our supporters have put in for several years.
Here are some highlights of what we know about the plan thus far:
- It is stronger overall than the June 2014 proposed plan, requiring a 32% reduction in emissions by 2030, instead of a 30% reduction.
- The plan will rely more on renewable energy than the proposed plan. This is a huge plus as we have been urging the Admin to use this as an opportunity to propel the already strong growth of renewables. The final rule will achieve about 28% of our electricity coming from renewables by 2030, whereas the proposed plan would have only achieved 22%. The final rule will also incorporate greater incentives for states to develop renewables.
- The plan will likely have more opportunities for states to act cooperatively to achieve emissions reductions, allowing for state cooperation to occur short of formal agreements like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that has achieved so much success in the Northeast. This will make compliance easier and provide more flexibility for states.
- The plan will extend the compliance deadline by 2 years to 2022, and also allow for states to have even more time if they have reliability concerns. We do not have many details on the reliability release valve, and that needs a closer look. While the extended compliance deadline is not ideal, it will give states more time and flexibility to build up renewables whereas a tighter deadline may have resulted in more reliance on gas to get quicker compliance, but with a fuel source that has far more long term problems and is still a carbon emitting fossil fuel.
- We will have to take a look at how biomass is treated in the plan. Word thus far is that mill waste will be allowed (a likely nod to Angus King), but that otherwise biomass will have to be demonstrated to be carbon neutral. We will obviously want to examine what sort of standard EPA sets, how it is applied and what the habitat ramifications are.
- Five coal states that got off pretty easy in the proposed rule will apparently have tougher standards – MT, MO, WV, KY and WY. While WV, WY and KY are all likely to be firmly against the plan regardless of the details, MO and MT have some key and swing congressional members and governors whose support is going to be important in defending the plan in Congress and securing good implementation in the states.
- Two states – NY and CA – are likely to have less stringent standards. These states, particularly CA, have been leaders in moving to cleaner energy sources. We need to make sure they continue to lead.
Thanks again for the all the great work folks have done over the years to bring us to this point. We will continue to provide details and updates as we know more about the plan and how it will influence our engagement with the Admin, Congress and the states.
ON THE REFUGE
|Hart Mountain National Antelope RefugeHart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is not the sort of place you just happen upon along your travels, unless you find yourself deep in the remote Sagebrush
Steppe of south central Oregon. But those who make the trek are rewarded by open skies, sweeping vistas and herds of pronghorn antelope.
THE REFUGE ASSOCIATION IN ACTION
|The Partners for Wildlife ProgramBy Sara Mason, Conservation InternWhile wildlife refuges and other protected areas play an essential role for wildlife conservation, huge expanses of land outside of the refuge system exist with enormous, and sometimes critical, conservation value. Due to the relatively small proportion of land that national wildlife refuges actually cover, the National Wildlife Refuge Association is highly invested in its ‘Beyond the Boundaries’ program, which aims to develop creative and collaborative methods by which we can help protect areas outside of America’s wildlife refuges.|
|Re-establishing the National Wildlife Refuge Caucus
By Justin Jacques, Communications InternThis week the National Wildlife Refuge Association helped co-sponsor the first-ever Refuge Expo 2015, an event on Capitol Hill to help kick off the newly resurrected National Wildlife Refuge Caucus.
REFUGE FRIENDS CONNECT
|Kindergartners Visit New Discovery CenterBy Justin Jacques, Communications InternAs 25 kindergarteners walked along a trail at Minnesota’s Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month, many yelling, running and generally enjoying not being in school, one young girl took the hand of Ron Jenson, President of the Friends of Tamarac. Looking up at him with an ear-to-ear smile, she said, “You know, I’ve never been in the woods before.”|
|Keep an eye out for these upcoming events: August 7-9 - Peer to Peer Workshop, Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge, OregonAugust 17-19 – Friends Academy, National Conservation Training Center, West VirginiaAugust 26-27 - Friends of Alaska Workshop, Homer, AlaskaAugust 28 – National Wildlife Refuge Association Board of Directors Meeting, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska|
Donate Today to Receive a Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Photo Book!
To keep the party going and continue celebrating our 40th anniversary, we are unveiling a new limited edition 40th Anniversary Photo Book. This photo book includes 40 of the best photographs from our photo contests representing the immense variety of wildlife and landscapes throughout the Refuge System. For a limited time, this special photo book can be yours for a donation of $140 or more to the National Wildlife Refuge Association.
More Headlines from this Month
John Kasbohm is the Project Leader at Sheldon-Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Oregon
The Refuge is Best Known For: Hart Mountain is a sought-after destination for hunters; it can take 15 years to get a bighorn sheep tag.
The Refuge’s Best Kept Secret: That Hart Mountain is one of the best remaining examples of sagebrush steppe left. It’s just really cool.
The Most Interesting Species on the Refuge: I think it’s the pronghorn antelope. It’s so distinct looking.
Your Favorite Activity on the Refuge: Exploring, whether it’s the geology, petroglyphs, or just being alone in the wilderness.
Best Time to Visit the Refuge: Early summer, when everything is still green and it’s before fire season.
Friends, are you connected?
RefugeFriendsConnect.org is a membership site that is managed by the Refuge Association and a group of volunteers. If you are a Friends group member or are refuge staff working with Friends you are welcome to join.
National Wildlife Refuge Assocition
To conserve America’s wildlife heritage for future generations through strategic programs that protect and enhance the National Wildlife Refuge System and the landscapes beyond its boundaries.
Flyer Masthead Photo Credit: Kestrel, Wade Dowdy
Copyright © 2013 National Wildlife Refuge Association
hope everyone had an enjoyable Fourth of July weekend—I’m still recovering from a couple glorious days kayaking on Lake Winnipesaukee and hiking in the White Mountains (climbed Mounts Lincoln and Lafayette and stayed at Greenleaf hut) of New Hampshire…
We’ve had a great few weeks at the Federation and I wanted to share a few stories from the road and from Washington.
Coming on the heels of the Clean Water Rule announcement (which we hosted with our DC Affiliate Earth Conservation Corps) and the agreement among Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario to reduce phosphorous in the Great Lakes by 40%, the biggest recent news is the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice and the Attorneys General of the five Gulf Coast states reaching a settlement with BP for the horrific damage caused in 2010 as more than a hundred million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf. The settlement is for $18 billion, with $5.5 billion for Clean Water Act violations and $7.1 billion for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment. We of course would always like to see more, but this is a huge win for wildlife and the biggest environmental penalty in history (by comparison it’s more money than all Land and Water Conservation dollars since its creation in 1965).
Our collective team has been on the front lines of this battle from the beginning with my predecessor Larry Schweiger being among the first national leaders on-site calling for full accountability and restoration. Our team at the National Advocacy Center working closely with many state affiliates, including the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Wildlife Federations, led the charge for the passage of the RESTORE act which ensured that 80% of penalties and fines would end up in the Gulf for restoration, rather than just in the general U.S. Treasury. Our incomparable team in the Gulf, led by Susan Kaderka and David Muth, has worked hard every day since the disaster to ensure that both BP was held accountable and that all penalties are spent on ecological restoration. Our Gulf Coast and Mississippi River Delta teams have put out reports on the health of the Gulf, which show that dolphins are still dying, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are nesting at a fraction of their pre-spill levels, and that impacts on bird and fish continue today. Our team has worked hard to lay out clear priorities for restoration in each of the Gulf States—projects that can now plan for implementation once the settlement is finalized. While there is still much more work to do, I am so proud of all of the work across our entire Federation and with our partners that made this all possible.
Another huge federal win in the past few weeks was the overwhelming House passage of reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by a margin of 398-1 (a Senate TSCA bill has passed committee with strong bipartisan support and awaits the floor). The proposed changes will drastically improve the way we test and regulate toxic chemicals in this nation. As a former state official, I can share painful details about the many problems with this nearly 40-year old statute and how it’s allowed chemicals that the science overwhelmingly proves are unsafe to harm kids and wildlife alike. As you can tell from the House vote, this is a hugely bipartisan effort and, though we’re still working to further strengthen the House and Senate versions of the bill (assuming the Senate bill gets floor time and passes, conference committee will be complicated), I’m proud that the National Wildlife Federation was an early vocal supporter of making progress this session and that our lobby team led by Josh Saks is working hard in the trenches to get something meaningful done that will improve the health of wildlife across the nation. (Also from Congress, a series of absolutely atrocious riders to the Interior and EPA budget bills that we’re fighting…)
We also achieved solid progress in controlling feral swine that are a scourge on habitat and key species in too many places. Last month, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) calling for the implementation of a national program to control feral swine populations. We have been working with several affiliates on this issue for many years; passing a resolution on invasive feral hogs at our 2012 Annual Meeting, submitting comments to APHIS as they undertook the creation of the EIS, and again earlier this year submitting joint comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement. APHIS listened and followed nearly all of our science-based recommendations—a success that illustrates so perfectly the power of our Federation! The final EIS establishes APHIS as the lead agency responsible for collaborating among government agencies. It also increases resources for implementation, assistance to states, education efforts, and research on effective control methods—and puts into place a much needed national strategic plan and resources to control feral swine. I’d like to thank Doug Inkley and all of the state affiliates who were involved in making this happen.
We are also ramping up our campaign to save pollinators, like bees and butterflies, many of which have experienced significant population decline as a result of habitat loss, chemical use, climate impacts, and other factors. Building upon our highly impactful Gardening for Wildlife program, including our nearly 200,000 backyard habitat certifications, we are a founding partner of the National Pollinator Garden Network and helped launch the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge with First Lady Michelle Obama a few weeks ago. On Monarchs specifically (whose populations have declined by more than 90% in 15 years), we’re working with the White House and Federal Agencies (especially the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and more than a dozen state affiliates, state fish/wildlife agencies, state transportation agencies, schools, and communities to put more milkweed habitat on the landscape and other efforts. Together, we can help save the iconic Monarch and restore pollinator populations that are essential for more than a third of all of the food we eat. I’m proud of the efforts of our entire Federation (led by Mary Phillips, Julie Sibbing, Naomi Edelson, Kevin Coyle, and Dave Mizejewski) and the leadership of state affiliates in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, the Dakotas, and I’m sure I’m forgetting many others. Let us know if you’d like to help.
As I continue my march to meet every affiliate in their home state (well past the two-thirds mark!), I had the chance to visit with several affiliates over the past few weeks. I had a great time with Jamie Rhodes, Paul Beaudette, the entire Environmental Council of Rhode Island, as well as Don Hooper and Amber Hewett. ECRI is enjoying some great wins related to banning cesspools, strengthening resilience planning, beginning construction of nation’s first offshore wind farm at Block Island, and the designation of a new National Park at Blackstone River Valley. Our teams at the Minnesota Conservation Federation and the Renewable Resources Coalition (Alaska) are deeply engaged in fighting mining operations that threaten some of America’s greatest wildlife and fisheries habitat. In Minnesota, Gary Botzek and his team are fighting a sulfide ore copper mining operation proposed in the headwaters of America’s first designated Wilderness Area, the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. Yes, that’s right, in the headwaters of the Boundary Waters (inside the watershed but just outside current wilderness designation). Working with my friend Ted Roosevelt IV, Jason Schmidt, Malea Stenzel Gilligan and I were on hand to launch a sportsmen and women coalition to support permanent protection of this amazing treasure. And I was up in Alaska at the Kenai for a Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council meeting—it was simply spectacular. In addition to addressing pressing Council business, we floated, fished, hiked to glaciers, and watched wildlife. While there I had a chance to learn more about our affiliate of the year, the Renewable Resources Coalition (Anders was training fishing guides so I met with Melissa Heuer from his team; RRC is fresh off their gigantic ballot measure win to protect Bristol Bay which passed with huge bipartisan, tribal and sportsmen/women support in every single part of the state).
Finally, let me end with one fight that we need to win: One of the biggest electoral wins of 2014 was the overwhelming passage of Amendment One in Florida with 75%. Led by the Florida Wildlife Federation and other local partners, the measure constitutionally mandated that one-third of all realty transfer taxes be dedicated to land conservation. So great push for dedicated funding and huge win at the ballot box—but the story doesn’t end there. Over the past six months, the Florida State Legislature and Governor Scott have ignored the measure and just passed a budget that spends only a fraction of the mandated more than $700 million on conservation and they also allowed a key conservation opportunity in the Everglades to lapse and delayed other key conservation priorities. They are simply ignoring the law. A few weeks ago, Ron Warnken and I were down with Manley Fuller and his whole team for their board meeting and annual dinner, where I assumed I would just be lauding their huge success and preparing for implementation—and instead was discussing battle plans for fighting back. FWF and other partners launched their lawsuit against the legislature and we’ll use every tool in our arsenal to ensure that the will of Floridians is followed. We need to help them win this fight!
This is all a long way of saying that we are making steady, meaningful progress across the nation. We’re bringing on fantastic talent across the Federation (folks like Dirk Sellers, new VP of Philanthropy, and Brian Kurzel new Regional Executive Director for the Rockies) and I’m also extremely excited that my predecessor and renown conservationist, Larry Schweiger, has been named President and CEO of PennFuture. Also, Carol Hayes is the new Executive Director of Prairie Rivers Network and Georgia Wildlife Federation named Mike Worley, President and CEO. Welcome aboard!
From restoring habitat and cleaning up waterways to defending public lands and connecting kids with nature, we are making a difference in every corner of America—now we just need to keep growing our conservation army! So let’s enjoy these victories and saddle up for the next battles! Thank you for all that you all do for our Federation—and for wildlife and all outdoor enthusiasts!
Your Happy Warrior,
The deadline to enter the 45th annual National Wildlife® Photo Contest is TODAY! This is your last chance to submit your best wildlife and nature photos to help us protect wildlife and have the chance to win:
- A grand prize adventure for two to any trip provided by Caravan Tours
- 1 of 7 $500 cash First Prize awards
- 1 of 7 $250 cash Second Prize awards
It’s also your last chance to see your work featured in an upcoming issue of the award-winning National Wildlife® magazine—right next to images taken by the world’s best nature photographers—and featured on our website, in our national reports, on our social media communities, and more.
Enter your work NOW before it’s too late.
Best of luck!
Wanted to let folks know that NWF’s Climate-Smart Conservation Guide has recently been included as a “tool” in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit (http://toolkit.climate.gov/). This US Government-developed website provides a variety of resources related to understanding and visualizing climate impacts as well as developing adaptation responses.
Direct link to the climate-smart guide is at: http://toolkit.climate.gov/tool/climate-smart-conservation-putting-adaptation-principles-practice
National Wildlife Federation Team,
This past Friday, one of America’s great conservationists, J.A. “Ash” Brownridge, passed away at the age of 98. Working in partnership with Tom Kimball, Mr. Brownridge oversaw the growth of the National Wildlife Federation into America’s largest wildlife conservation organization. He will be forever remembered as the creator of Ranger Rick and Ranger Rick magazine, which has introduced more than 50 million Americans to wildlife—and which is still going strong today! To enhance the member experience and increase awareness of our conservation work, he also created our fantastic National Wildlife magazine .
Like many of you, I can honestly say that I would not be such a passionate conservationist today, if it was not for the hours reading and doing the activities in Ranger Rick with my parents—and for that I owe Mr. Brownridge a debt that can only be paid forward. He truly believed in the power of our Federation, our amazing State Affiliates, our diverse coalition, and our responsibility to engage youth.
Please take a moment to read our statement below to learn more about this amazing conservationist and let’s honor his memory by introducing more kids to Ranger Rick and the great outdoors.
The viewing will be held tomorrow/Tuesday (June 30th) from 5:00 – 8:00 PM on Tuesday, June 30th and the service will be at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, both at Fairfax Memorial Park at 9902 Braddock Road in Fairfax, Virginia. The family has kindly requested that, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made in his name to the National Wildlife Federation.
It’s a busy week for conservation issues on the House floor. On Tuesday, the House will be considered H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, under the suspension of the rules. This means that there will be no amendments, and that the bill will require a two-thirds majority to pass. NWF is supporting this bill, which would be the first update to how EPA regulates toxics in decades, and is optimistic that it will pass.
On Wednesday, the House will vote on H.R. 2042, Rep. Whitfield’s (R-KY) bill to kill the Clean Power Plan. The bill is expected to pass, but we hope to keep as many Democrats as possible (and a few moderate Republicans) from supporting the bill.
On Thursday, they will begin consideration of the Interior Appropriations bill. As you’ve all heard by now, this is an all-around horrible bill which guts funding for conservation programs and contains 20 harmful policy riders, including provisions to block the Clean Water Rule, the Clean Power Plan, and an Endangered Species Act listing of the Greater Sage Grouse. There will likely be many amendment offered, including several to strip harmful environmental riders to the bill. We will be watching the amendments closely and providing vote recommendations to the hill.
Senate EPW to hold hearing on Senator Capito’s CPP bill
Tuesday, the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on S. 1324, Senator Capito’s (R-WV) bill which threatens to derail the Clean Power Plan. The bill would allow states to ‘opt-out’ of the rule, and would indefinitely delay the rule by forestalling implementation of the Clean Power Plan until every lawsuit against it had been litigated and appealed—a process that can take years. The bill not only takes aim at the Clean Power Plan, but would effectively block the implementation of the new-source carbon standards as well. The bill is very similar to H.R. 2042, the so-called “Ratepayer Protection Act” in the House.
House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology to hold hearing on Clean Power Plan
Wednesday (6/24) the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, subcommittee on Environment and Energy, will hold a hearing on the financial impacts of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
House subcommittee passes agriculture appropriations bill
On Thursday, the House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee passed by voice vote its, $20.65 billion draft spending bill for fiscal 2016. More on that here. We were disappointed in the bill due to the large cuts in mandatory farm bill conservation and renewable energy programs. This bill, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to critical farm bill conservation and energy programs would hamper the ability of farmers, ranchers, and foresters to address key resource concerns. With ever-increasing pressures on working lands, coupled with declining wildlife populations, voluntary farm bill conservation programs are needed now more than ever. These conservation programs are crucial to the health and viability of agriculture and rural America, as well as the quality of our soil, water, and wildlife.
For more information, please contact Aviva Glaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 797-6616
Stopping Carbon Pollution
Senate EPW committee hearing on Coal Ash
Wednesday (6/17) the Senate committee on Environment and Public Works held their first hearing on the EPA’s coal ash rule. EPA finalized national standards for coal ash disposal in December of 2014. The rule is already considered very industry-friendly, due to the fact that coal ash was not given a “hazardous” designation and that citizen suits are the only enforcement mechanism. There is legislation in the House (H.R. 1734) that aims to make this rule even weaker.
For more information, please contact Josh Saks at email@example.com or (202) 797-6631
EPA and Department of Transportation propose regulating fuel efficiency from heavy duty trucks
Friday (6/19) EPA announced proposed improved fuel efficiency of heavy duty vehicles. The proposed rule would increase fuel economy standards for these vehicles by 2027 and result in a savings of 1billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Though these trucks account for only 5% of traffic on the road, they are responsible for roughly 20% of road-vehicle emissions. The proposed rulemaking can be found here.
For more information, please contact Josh Saks at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 797-6631
National Wildlife Federation
Phone: 202-797-6631 | Cell: 202-617-6079 | saksj@nwf.
The following release went out to press today.
Blog on MN Tar Sands March
Greetings, everybody! I know we’ve all been sharing updates around as they come up, but I wanted to pull many of them together into one place so we can collectively see the actions taken coming out of the Affiliate Chiefs meeting. Not everything is here but I wanted to get this out with what we have and then add to it as folks report additional progress. Please send anything we missed to Jessica (email@example.com) and me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we’ll include it in the next round.
Before we get to it, a heads up: you’ll be hearing from Jessica in the next few days about several calls we’re convening – one on the new NFWF funding for pollinator work, and another to brief you on the Clean Water Rule just released and the Clean Power Rule that’s coming up – and the attacks in Congress on both of them. Also, we’ll be sending you soon information on the affiliate mini-grant program. So stay tuned!
Our western affiliates and public lands team pitched a near shutout this state legislative season, beating back proposals in 7 states throughout the West to transfer federal public lands to state and private interests. There was an outpouring of outrage from the sportsmen’s community for these ill-founded proposals, with over 1200 sportsmen showing up for rallies around the West to keep public lands in public hands, testifying at state legislatures, and dominating the media. This outrage actually forced some bill sponsors to withdraw bills entirely and distance themselves from the issue. Let’s give a shout out to NWF affiliates in MT, ID, CO, NM, AZ, NV and WY for their incredible work on this, and to the NWF public lands team for supporting all states.
Another big kudos goes to Mike Butler for beating back a similar bill in the state legislature in TN, and spreading the word on the front group, the American Lands Council. Check out their website here: http://www.americanlandscouncil.org/
Also, this just in, the New Mexico government is trying to bar public access to streams that run through private lands – a violation of the New Mexico constitution and the public trust doctrine. New Mexico Wildlife Federation is taking this on; check out Garrett’s quote in this article: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/open-country/access-denied-new-mexico-gives-public-water-wading-fisherman-boot?o4hzQiX1CY5qezZr.03
NWF’s Washington, DC affiliate, Earth Conservation Corps, hosted an event on the Anacostia River where Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator and Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers signed a rule restoring Clean Water Act protections to more than half of the nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands. NWF and our affiliates should take a lot of pride in this event with the EPA and the Corps. It is because of the work of staff and affiliate leaders over the last decade and with the huge field push during this past year that we were asked to pull off such an historic event. NWF affiliates are leading efforts in key states to amplify the excitement and groundswell of support for the new rule with constituents, the media, and their Senators over the summer. New funding has been secured for five affiliates for this effort, including: Colorado Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Council of Maine, New Hampshire Audubon, Minnesota Conservation Federation, and Virginia Conservation Network.
Exploring greater collaboration around the Ohio River was identified as one of the top priorities in this area. As an initial step, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Prairie Rivers Network have been working together on the No More (Mercury in the Ohio River Environment) campaign. In support of this work, NWF sent an action alert to nearly 70,000 thousand online activists within the watershed and shared the issue via social media. With the comment period for mercury standards now closed, affiliates are convening for a broader discussion about Ohio River conservation priorities and we are exploring potential joint funding opportunities.
Privatization of Wildlife:
One of the big priorities here is getting out a sportsman’s poll on high fence hunting to show once and for all that most sportsman think this is a terrible idea. We have the opportunity to get some polling done cheaply in the next month – thanks to Adam Kolton for spotting this opportunity. Stay tuned for the results.
Climate and energy:
We are still expecting the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to be rolled out by the EPA at the end of July or early August. To that end, NWF staff and the affiliates are leading efforts to bring the voice of wildlife and their constituencies to the fight to not only get the rule out, but to make sure it is strong. This spring we received additional funds from the Climate Action Campaign (CAC) to have three affiliates hire more organizers to work on the campaign. Natural Resources Council of Maine will hire a business outreach organizer; Virginia Conservation Network will hire a new sportsmen/women organizer in the Hampton Roads region of VA; and Montana Wildlife Federation will hire a part time sportsmen/women organizer to work in western MT. This CAC funded field team is now more than 16 affiliates and NWF staff and consultants. We are also working on the State Implementation Process for the CPP, hoping to raise funds for our affiliates engaging in the effort to both write strong state implantation plans and defend the SIPs from legislative attacks at the state legislature. We hope for good news on the funding front soon.
NWF affiliates are leading effort in several states to stop the dangerous movement of dirty fuels, whether by pipeline, rail, or ship. Vermont Natural Resources Council, Environmental Advocates of New York, and NWF co-released a report on the threat tar sands proses to Lake Champlain. As industry plans to transport tar sands by rail along the shores of Lake Champlain, we called on an immediate moratorium on tars sands transportation to protect communities and wildlife from the risks of oil spills and explosions. In Minnesota, Minnesota Conservation Federation is part of a regional coalition leading effort to stop the expansion of a dirty fuels pipeline. On June 6th MCF and NWF took part in a large rally in support of stopping the expansion. And in Montana, MWF will be hiring an eastern organizer to work with NWF on the campaign to stop a new coal mine and rail project in the Powder River Basin in southeast MT.
Species and Habitats
This category covers an awful lot of ground and we won’t go through it all here. The big highlight, of course, is the pollinator and monarch initiatives that are underway. The NWF/USFWS Memorandum of Agreement and NWF’s Butterfly Hero campaign began before the ACE meeting; since then, many of us joined together to launch the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. You’ve already received plenty of information from us on these initiatives and I won’t load you up with it again here. As noted above, NFWF has put out a new Request for Proposal for grants to restore pollinator habitat – you’ll be getting notice of a call on that soon.
Certified Wildlife Habitats: Affiliates still have the option to purchase half price regional collections of milkweed and nectar seed packets through Botanical Interests to sell as a fundraiser or for recognition gifts, etc. The offer was extended through end of June. (This was a generous offer and special promotion from Botanical Interests created for affiliates to help meet seed requests and help expand habitat for pollinators and monarchs and raise funds directly) Please contact Mary Phillips (PhillipsM@nwf.org) for custom NWF order forms from Botanical Interests.
Bison: Bison restoration has been a priority for both NWF and the Montana Wildlife Federation, and we worked closely over the past six months at the Montana Legislature wrestling with lawmakers in an effort to defend a future for wild bison in the state. MWF had two lobbyists at the capital covering public lands, wildlife and waters issues. NWF hired a lobbyist to work closely with MWF, organizing grassroots sportsmen and conservationists, ultimately killing nearly a dozen anti-bison bills.
NWF also joined with MWF to launch the Sportsmen for Bison website, which aims to ensure hunters have the opportunity to be heard as well. Hunting will play an important role in bison restoration as a means of managing the animals’ numbers and distribution.
Sage grouse: NWF and the Montana Wildlife Federation partnered to inform sportsmen and sportswomen around the state about Governor Bullock’s sage grouse recovery plan. Hayley Newman, NWF’s Sage Grouse Project Coordinator, provided informative briefings to MWF’s chapters throughout Montana during late 2014 and early 2015.
Bighorn: NWF, our state affiliates and other partners to restore bighorn sheep throughout their historic range, with a focus on Wyoming, Idaho and Utah, where the U.S. Forest Service is assessing the risk of disease transmission from domestic sheep. With sheep producers feeling the pressure of possible restrictions, opportunities arise for negotiating voluntary retirements or conversion from sheep to cattle grazing on public land allotments. As explained in this blog, NWF, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, the Idaho Wildlife Federation and the Wild Sheep Foundation have negotiated several important new grazing retirements in Idaho and Wyoming, primarily aimed at benefitting bighorn sheep, and more are in the works for the near future.
As explained here, NWF and our Idaho affiliate have long advocated for closure or improved operations at the U.S. Sheep Experimental Station at Dubois, Idaho. The Idaho Wildlife Federation and NWF developed an op-ed regarding recommended changes to the operations of the Sheep Station, which was printed in three Idaho newspapers the weekend of the 22-24th of May. NWF further cooperated with both Idaho and Montana affiliates for a fly-in to Washington, D.C., to advocate for these changes.
Vice President, Conservation Action
National Wildlife Federation
NWF: Task Force Recommendations “Strong Action to Protect Pollinators”
May 19, 2014 – President Obama’s Pollinator Task Force has announced its National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, as first reported by the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin. The Pollinator Health Task Force was created as part of President Obama’s 2014 presidential memorandum on pollinator health.
“The Obama administration is taking strong action to protect pollinators. These steps and other common sense actions will protect, preserve, and restore millions of acres of habitat, increase public/private partnerships on pollinator health, and raise public awareness of the importance of pollinators,” said Collin O’Mara, National Wildlife Federation president and chief executive officer. “The National Wildlife Federation and our affiliates look forward to working together with the Administration and other conservation partners to preserve the beauty and essential functions of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators for generations to come.”
In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to protect and restore monarch butterfly habitat. Monarch butterflies have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development and cropland conversion.
Top Conservation Leaders Honored at National Conservation Achievement Awards
NWF honors individuals and organizations who volunteer their time, commitment and service to the conservation movement
WASHINGTON – (May 12, 2015) – The National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America’s largest wildlife conservation and education organization, recognized six honorees for their outstanding contributions to the conservation field at NWF’s annual Conservation Achievement Awards on May 14th, 2015, at the Ronald Reagan Building, in Washington D.C.
“This year’s award winners are rich in inspiration and leadership,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation. “We are proud to recognize them and the contributions they have made to the conservation movement in America.”
William McDonough, FAIA, Int. FRIBA, selected as the recipient of the J.N. “Ding” Darling Conservation Award for Lifetime Achievement, is a globally recognized designer, thought leader, sustainable growth pioneer, and the pre-eminent voice for ecologically intelligent design and what he calls “waging peace through commerce.” For 40 years he has defined the principles of the sustainability movement, creating its seminal buildings, products, texts and enterprises and preparing the ground for its widespread growth. For more information about William McDonough, please go to: http://www.nwf.org/Who-We-Are/Conservation-Awards/Honorees-Text.aspx.
Jim Posewitz, awarded Conservationist of the Year, is a sportsmen leader held in the highest regard. A gifted historian, Mr. Posewitz tirelessly advocates on behalf of sportsmen for the importance of preserving and protecting wildlife and wild places. He has written four books on hunter ethics, including Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting (Falcon Press, 1994), Inherit the Hunt: A Journey into the Heart of American Hunting (Falcon Press, 1999), Rife in Hand: How Wild America was Save (Riverbend Publishing, 2004) and Take a Bullet for Conservation (self-published, 2011). Most recently, Mr. Posewitz has worked closely with National Wildlife Federation championing the restoration of bison in Montana.
The NYC iSchool, selected for the Education Award, opened in 2008 with 100 ninth grade students in a 100-plus-year-old school building in the SoHo area of Manhattan. The iSchool shares its space with another high school and operates within the same policies and regulations of any NYC public high school. Each year since its opening, the school has added approximately 120 new ninth graders; the school is now at capacity with approximately 450 students.
The Forest Stewardship Council, awarded the Organization Award, is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. As a democratic platform to bring diverse interests together, FSC was created in 1993 to help consumers and businesses identify products from responsibly managed forests. FSC sets standards by which forests are certified, offering credible verification to people who are buying wood and wood products. FSC has more than 29,900 certificate holders in 113 countries, and 450 million acres of forestland are certified under FSC standards around the world. For more information visit www.fsc.org.
Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry from Nebraska were both awarded the Legislative Award. Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was elected to the United States Senate in 2000. Senator Stabenow is the author of the 2014 Farm Bill, which contains the most far-reaching enhancements to land and water conservation policy in decades, including the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which will empower landowners, conservation groups and local communities to lead the way on conservation projects for water, air and wildlife.
A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Rep. Fortenberry advocated for provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill to protect our nation’s wetlands and prairies as well as the wildlife that depend upon these ecosystems. In 2012, his home state of Nebraska had the highest rate in the nation of grasslands converted to cropland. Thanks to his efforts, federal crop insurance policy will no longer provide an incentive to destroy what is left of Nebraska’s native grasslands. Fortenberry is also a long-time supporter of the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants program, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program provides federal grants for states to develop and implement programs that benefit wildlife and their habitats, with a priority on at-risk wildlife.
For more information about the 2015 NWF annual Conservation Achievement Awardees, please go to: http://www.nwf.org/Who-We-Are/Conservation-Awards/Honorees-Text.aspx. For more details on attending the 2015 Conservation Achievement Awards, visit this link. Since the first annual Conservation Achievement Awards – now known as the “Connie” Awards – began in 1966, National Wildlife Federation has celebrated individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting wildlife through education, advocacy, communication and on-the-ground conservation. Previous honorees have included Al Gore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jimmy Carter, Robert Redford, and Stewart Udall.
The National Wildlife Federation is America’s largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future.
NWF Field Report May 4-8, 2015
Grassroots Actions: 27
Grasstops Engaged: 13
Lobby Visits or Calls: 8
Earned Media: 3
Last week, the House of Representatives was on recess as they gear up for attacks on the Clean Water Rule and Clean Power Plan. Meanwhile, the NWF Outreach Team continues to generate earned media, engage grasstops leaders and grassroots activist to push for NWF priorities.
[EPA Clean Water Rule]
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule clarifying Clean Water Act protections for wetlands and streams.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry generated an OpEd in support of the EPA’s Clean Water Rule in the Centre Daily Times, York Dispatch, Scranton Times Tribune, and River Reporter signed by grasstop leader Ed Zygmunt, a life member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.
Associated Media: Clean Water Rule just makes sense (York Dispatch); Congress needs to uphold intent of clean water laws (Centre Daily Times); Politicians devalue state assets (Scranton Times Tribune);
- Missouri//Outreach Consultant Margo Farnsworth conducted outreach to Representative Cleaver’s office to encourage him to vote against Representative Shuster’s attack on the Clean Water Rule in the House.
- Ohio//Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager Frank Szollosi and Outreach Consultant Tracy Sabetta both conducted outreach in advance of the Clean Water Rule to Representative Fudge to encourage her to vote against attacks on the Clean Water Rule in the House.
- Illinois//Prairie Rivers Network created a new video to support the Clean Water Rule that articulates why businesses like brewers, restaurants, farmers and outdoor recreationists are #4cleanwater.
Associated Media: http://bit.ly/1QtzcBs
- Virginia//Virginia Conservation Network conducted thank you calls to the offices of Congressmen Beyer and Connelly for their sponsorship of Clean Water Rule amendments during the Energy and Water appropriations that attempted to strip the bill of bad clean water riders.
- Wyoming//Wyoming Wildlife Federation’s Steve Kilpatrick generated an OpEd in the Casper Star Tribune on defending our public lands.
Associated media: Kilpatrick: Our public lands, a way of life
- Colorado//Public Lands Organizer Bill Dvorak was quoted in the Denver Post this week on the need to defend our public lands.
Associated media: Willoughby: Federal land transfer idea fails but won’t go away
[EPA Clean Power Plan]
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed limits on carbon pollution from power plants called the Clean Power Plan.
- New Hampshire//Outreach Consultant Eric Orff attended the monthly NH Wildlife Federation board meeting and met with several of the sportsmen and women attendees to thank them for their continued support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
- Montana//Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager Dave Dittloff tabled at Missoula’s First Friday Art Walk and collected 27 postcards to Senators Tester and Daines asking them to support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry met with two grasstops board members with the League of Women Voters to design a brochure and generate turnout for his May 30th Garden for Climate Solutions event in State College, PA. Later, Perry also met with a grasstop board member from Trout Unlimited, Spring Creek Chapter to discuss ways to participate in the event including the possibility of filming the entire event at no cost.
- Virginia//Virginia Conservation Network’s Jessica Greene generated six new signers to the local elected official sign-on letter in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan including Delegates Rip Sullivan, Scott Surovell, Alfonso Lopez, Kenneth Plum, Sam Rasoul, and Patrick Hope.
- New Hampshire//Outreach Consultant Eric Orff attended the New Hampshire Fish and Game’s non-game Wildlife Action Plan planning session in Concord and met with staff members from fish and Game as well as other new Hampshire conservationists to thank the agency for their help with the story on the frogs and salamanders and to cultivate grasstops for future actions. Later in the week, Orff participated in a roundtable to discuss the future direction of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in relation to the public at large.
- New Hampshire//Outreach Consultant Eric Orff generated an AP news story on the NH Frog and Salamander migration and the link to climate change which was picked up by several newspapers including the Concord Monitor and on the New Hampshire TV station WMUR. Orff also met with a reporter from the Union Leader to discuss the migration for an upcoming story.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry generated a letter-to-the-editor in the Centre Daily Times signed by a grasstop sportsman leader from the PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs on the need to address climate change and the Clean Power Plan.
Associated Media: We must address climate change
- Ohio//Outreach Consultant Tracy Sabetta conducted a lobby call with the staff of Senator Brown to discuss the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and having a small role in Advocacy Day at the statehouse.
- Pennsylvania//PennFuture conducted a series of drop-by visits of their recent Fossil Fuel Subsidy Report to Senator Casey’s offices in Wilkes Barre, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh along with grasstops leaders like Joy Bergey of the Chestnut Hill United Church and Marlene Van Es of Ground to Government, a Pitt Law Student group focused on local policies relating to environmental issues. At all of these meetings, representatives discussed the importance of the Clean Power Plan and a move towards a clean energy future.
- May: Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming Events
NWF will hold events connecting climate change solutions to both gardening and the Clean Power Plan. We will use NWF’s Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming and engage with local elected officials, Faith leaders, Community Leaders, Master Gardeners, Garden Clubs, Native Plant Societies, Nurseries and other related businesses (sustainable landscaping), Horticulturists, ecologists, etc., discussing how through gardening at their homes and in their communities and taking action to support the Clean Power Plan, that they are part of the solution to climate change.
Toolkit for Gardener’s Guide Events (pictures, media templates, postcards, etc)
- May-September: NWF CO2ld Waters Film Screening Events
NWF is a sponsor and producer of the new CO2ld Waters film, which showcases America’s abiding passion for fly fishing while also detailing the massive threat we face from climate change. After the CO2ld Waters debut as part of the Fly Fishing Film Festival, NWF will begin to host screenings of the film. NWF CAC Organizers will hold events to show the film and connect with fishermen, outdoor business owners, tourism industry professionals, NWF members, and other stakeholders to raise awareness and inspire action in support of the Clean Power Plan.
Toolkit for CO2LD Water Screening Events (reports, talking points, film download instructions, etc.)
- May 25-29: Congressional Recess
- May 30: Garden for Wildlife: Solutions to Climate Change event in State College, PA.
- June 14-20: National Pollinator Week
- June 27: Great American Campout
National Outreach Coordinator
National Wildlife Federation
1990 K St. NW, Suite 430
Washington, DC 20006
Can This Man Turn Hunters & Anglers Into Climate Activists?
Todd Tanner, hunter and climate activist
By Matt Miller
Todd Tanner sees 37 million American hunters and anglers, and he sees a force that could actually get something done for climate change.
Let’s get one thing out of the way. I know what you’re thinking, especially if you’ve followed climate communications at all: We’ve heard this before.
After all, getting new audiences to care about climate change has been a priority – some might say obsession – of environmental organizations for a very long time.
And for good reason: meaningful action on climate change won’t happen without much broader support.
Climate, after all, needn’t be a political issue (and it’s not in many countries).
And yet, for all that seeming promise, all that endless strategizing, in the end climate change remains a politicized and polarizing issue.
What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
I’ve seen such outreach efforts fail, sometimes firsthand. I’ve attended gatherings of hunters and anglers – I’m a lifelong and enthusiastic sportsman – where an environmentalist attempts to address climate change.
So often, the talk begins like this. The speaker proudly proclaims some sporting credentials. And it’s often something like: I went fishing once. With my grandpa. When I was ten. I totally understand your passion.
At this point, I bury my face in my hands. Please stop.
Too late. The room has turned cold. Eyes roll. I know exactly what everyone’s thinking: No. No, you don’t get us at all.
And who can blame them?
Writer and climate activist Todd Tanner has seen this, too. Frequently. And he wants to change the dialogue.
“When environmental groups try to raise the climate issue with hunters and anglers, their messaging and framing are actually counter-productive,” he says. “They don’t sound right; they’re not part of the tribe. So sportsmen and sportswomen simply tune them out.”
Tanner represents a different kind of messenger. The question is: Can he, and others like him, make a difference?
Angling for Climate Change Activists
Tanner lands a steelhead on the Dean River.
I first encountered Todd Tanner on the pages of outdoor magazines, far from the realm of climate change communications. He writes reliable, solid pieces on rivers and hatches and gear. If he recommends a fly rod, I know I can trust it.
Then he founded Conservation Hawks, an organization dedicated to getting hunters and anglers involved in climate change.
I was impressed – the “hook and bullet” magazines wouldn’t touch this issue, nor would most of their writers.
Tanner knows the political clout that the sporting community carries, especially in rural areas and “red” states.
Hunters and anglers have a long history of conservation and political action – but they have been largely absent when it comes to climate change.
Tanner leapt in with a passion, perhaps for the same reasons that draw many of us to be climate activists.
“I am not a doom-and-gloom guy, but I realized if things kept on this trajectory, there would be no hunting and fishing in a 100 years,” he says. “I’ve always felt like we have a moral duty to act as stewards and caretakers. When my son was born, though, it took things up a notch. Those ‘future generations’ we all talk about suddenly had a face and a name.”
“Hunters should talk to hunters, evangelicals should talk to evangelicals, military should talk to military,” he says. “Groups should focus on their base and not stray too far afield.”
Common sense? Perhaps. But so often large environmental organizations believe they can partner with anybody. Easier said than done.
Climate change affects big game migration patterns. Photo: Matt Miller/TNC
Tanner knows the terrain here. He writes stories on climate change for outdoor magazines. He’s at outdoor conventions and industry trade shows. He meets with some of the biggest names in outdoor sport, but also spreads the message along trout streams.
To an environmentalist, some of Tanner’s tactics can seem, well, unconventional.
I once moderated a panel where he spoke to a crowd comprised of avid hunters. When the time for questions came, the inevitable climate change deniers hogged the podium.
Then Tanner stood up and offered a new shotgun to anyone in the room who could produce peer-reviewed evidence to back up the denial.
He makes this offer frequently. He has yet to pay out.
The hunters paid attention.
“Lay people want to understand scientific concepts, but at the same time they want those concepts to be clear and concise and free from caveats and qualifiers,” he says. “My job is to translate for them – to share information in a way they can understand.”
He has an array of evidence that hits at what sportsmen and sportswomen care about: Rivers getting warmer. Water levels getting lower. Shifting duck migrations. Altered big game patterns.
But not polar bears. Definitely not polar bears.
In fact, Tanner wrote a piece for Forbes calling environmentalists to task for making the polar bear a symbol for climate change, and sticking with that symbol regardless of audience.
“I am not going to point towards the Arctic if I want hunters and anglers to care about climate change,” he says. “There are plenty of examples that they can relate to every time they go afield.”
Generic Messages Won’t Cut It
Todd Tanner and his son at Glacier National Park.
Even within the realm of hunting and angling, Tanner recognizes that there can’t be a one-size-fits all message.
While environmentalists may lump this community together, its participants recognize sub-groups and sub-sub-groups and points of difference.
To the outsider, this all may seem trivial. To insiders, these differences are vitally important, the fodder for endless discussion and debate in magazines, internet forums and campfires.
There are nuances and overlaps, of course, but the bottom line is this: to talk to this community you have to understand all this.
Tanner’s own strength is his respect and credibility among the fly fishing community. Granted, some might call fly fishers the low hanging fruit of this realm.
Still, the increasing support of fly fishers around climate change is impressive. Last week, the film Cold Waters, a film about how anglers will feel the effects of climate change, featured some of the biggest names in the industry.
“All of us who care about climate change have to recognize who we can reach,” says Tanner. “I am not going to reach evangelicals. I can reach fly fishers. I know this community, and they know me. They’re going to give me the benefit of the doubt. And we need this for bass anglers and bird hunters and lots of other groups.”
“Generic climate messages are not going to cut it,” he adds. “We need people who know the science but can speak to their tribe.”
You can’t fake this. You can deliver all the messages you want, but unless you speak to peoples’ passions, those messages land like a badly-cast fly.
When I listen to Tanner, I’m no longer an employee of an environmental organization. I’m a hunter. I’m listening to one of my people. He’s telling stories that matter. To me and to the future I want for my own son.
And I think: here is someone who gets it. No: Gets us.
Opinions expressed on Cool Green Science and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Nature Conservancy.
What are you doing for Earth Day?
Here at National Wildlife Federation, we like to think of Earth Day as a moment to rally for our natural world and redouble our efforts for wildlife in peril. Wildlife like beautiful monarch butterflies, whose numbers are dwindling.
Monarch populations have plummeted 90 percent in 20 years. More than a billion acres of our native grasslands that provide crucial monarch habitat have already been destroyed, and a million more acres are lost every year.
But all hope is not lost. NWF is leading a massive coalition effort to re-establish monarch habitat and protect what’s left of life-giving native grasslands from being plowed under for agriculture and development.
We’ll put your adoption purchases to use immediately to defend monarchs and America’s most vulnerable wildlife. We’re filling thousands of backyards with nectar plants and native milkweed—the one and only host plant for monarch caterpillars—and working alongside trusted national partners to protect habitat for monarchs and other at-risk wildlife across the country.
But we can’t help monarchs and other wildlife without caring friends of wildlife like you.
Thank you so much for all you do to protect wildlife and our natural world and Happy Earth Day!
NWF Naturalist, Media
We just passed the halfway mark in our Membership Challenge and supporters across the country are answering the call for wildlife!
More than 217 fellow friends of wildlife stepped up with a gift to protect America’s wildlife. I invite you to join them.
So many amazing wildlife species have a stake in your active support.
Like orcas. National Wildlife Federation members helped fuel a huge win for endangered orcas that swim off the coast of Oregon. Last August, the state rejected a permit for a massive coal export terminal that would have destroyed and polluted crucial habitat for orcas, salmon and many more wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.
And generous gifts have helped turn entire neighborhoods into thriving habitats for songbirds, butterflies and other “backyard wildlife.” In just this past month alone, three communities earned the official Community Wildlife Habitat® certification from National Wildlife Federation for taking action to restore wildlife habitat and green their landscapes.
These victories are not possible without the financial support of friends like you. But every day brings new deadly threats to wildlife—from mining and drilling to pollution and a changing climate.
Thank you for all you do for wildlife and the natural world.
Director of Membership Programs
National Wildlife Federation
P.S. Please find it in your heart to give for wildlife today. Your gift will be doubled! Give now, and as a BONUS, you’ll get a chance to ask our top wildlife experts, Chief Scientist Doug Inkley and Celebrity Naturalist David Mizejewski, anything about wildlife during our members-only Insider’s Call this April. Thank you!
National Wildlife Week 2015 (March 9-15) is built on the theme of Living with Wildlife. You know well that, in recent years, the conflicts between people and wild species of all sizes and types seem to be on the rise. You also know the good news – that there are often sound ways to address them.
We thought you might like to see our linked article (below) by NWF’s Dani Tinker on advice for helping people in urban fringes and cities to live more responsibly with wildlife.
Happy National Wildlife Week!
Kevin J. Coyle, JD.
Vice President, Education and Training
National Wildlife Federation
After layoffs, NWF chief vows to build ‘conservation field army’
Phil Taylor, E&E reporter
Published: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
DENVER — The National Wildlife Federation is beefing up its field staff and intensifying its push to protect wildlife, restore landscapes and get Americans outdoors, CEO Collin O’Mara says.
Since taking office in July, O’Mara has trimmed NWF’s Washington, D.C., staff while empowering its field offices and 49 state affiliates to recruit and galvanize a nation of citizen stewards, he said.
“I really want National Wildlife Federation to be America’s conservation field army,” O’Mara, 35, said in an interview last week during a visit to NWF’s Rocky Mountain Regional Center in downtown Denver. “We’re better positioned than any other organization to do that. But to do that, you have to be much more present in the field.”
The goal is to stitch together a diverse coalition of hunters and anglers, bird-watchers, gardeners, farmers and recreationists who share the desire to protect wildlife and their habitat, O’Mara said. The group has just shy of 6 million active members and supporters now, he said.
NWF is also expanding efforts to expose kids to the outdoors in an age when electronics consume a growing portion of their lives, O’Mara said.
He is hoping NWF’s broad constituency can ease partisanship in Washington that has hampered funding for wildlife and passage of conservation bills like the “Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act” (S. 405).
“The wildlife message works,” he said. “I can talk to the most conservative tea party crowds in some places and the most liberal crowds in the Northeast, and there’s a consistency there. My biggest goal is to de-politicize.”
O’Mara previously led Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, a position he began in 2009 as the nation’s youngest state Cabinet official.
In his short tenure as CEO, O’Mara has visited 37 states, met with 31 affiliate groups and logged 30,000 air miles, he said.
‘Cut as deeply as you need’
His transformation of NWF did not happen without pain.
The organization last summer faced an $8 million annual deficit, he said. By last August, O’Mara had laid off about 50 NWF employees, reducing total staff to 272. The organization downsized its national office and shed some of its federal capacity on climate change, O’Mara said.
The cuts were “very surgical,” he said. They targeted senior management positions in an effort to achieve a more horizontal structure.
In July, NWF parted ways with it chief operating officer, Jaime Matyas, one of its highest-paid executives. Matyas became CEO of the Student Conservation Association a few months later.
It also laid off Felice Stadler, senior director of NWF’s climate and energy program, and longtime employee John Kostyack, who was serving as vice president of wildlife conservation. Kostyack in August was named executive director of the Wind Energy Foundation, a nonprofit industry-funded group that promotes public awareness of wind as a clean energy source and supports research.
Last October brought two other high-level departures: Ann Morgan, who had led NWF’s regional office in Boulder, Colo., since February 2012, and Anthony Caligiuri, senior vice president for conservation and education at NWF headquarters. Caligiuri now leads Colorado Open Lands, a land trust based in Denver.
NWF also laid off its chief financial officer, Dulce Gomez-Zormelo.
The group is in the process of selling its Reston, Va., headquarters and plans to integrate operations with its National Advocacy Center at 1990 K St. NW in Washington, D.C., O’Mara said. In recent months, it moved its Rocky Mountain office from Boulder to downtown Denver a few blocks from the statehouse. The move aimed to cut costs but also to get closer to NWF’s state and federal partners, he said.
O’Mara’s overhaul has parallels to his work in Delaware, where he was credited with engineering one of the first significant revamps of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control since 1972, a move aimed at boosting efficiencies during lean economic times.
“My model in Delaware is you cut as deeply as you need to have a balanced budget, but not at the expense of core competencies,” he said.
‘We are delighted’
Bruce Wallace, the incoming chairman of NWF’s board, said the terrain is “rapidly changing” for environmental nonprofits — with new funding challenges and political polarization gripping the U.S. Capitol. He said O’Mara has navigated those challenges with aplomb, having faced a similar organizational challenge in Delaware.
He credited O’Mara for leveraging NWF’s regional offices, state affiliates and geographic spread.
“We are delighted” with O’Mara’s work, Wallace said. “We are stable and growing at a time when the country could not need us more.”
While NWF lost some federal capacity in climate change, it has increased its ability to address the issue at the state level, O’Mara said. He said NWF will have more “boots on the ground” to support compliance with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which will mandate that states reduce emissions of global warming gases 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
In part, O’Mara is returning NWF to its roots.
The organization was founded in 1936 by Iowa cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a waterfowl hunter who was appointed in 1934 to lead the U.S. Biological Survey, now known as the Fish and Wildlife Service. Darling designed the first duck stamp, a federal permit to hunt waterfowl that has funded the purchase or leasing of more than 6 million acres of wetlands habitat.
In that era, wildlife lacked a national constituency to prod lawmakers to support conservation funding and policies, Darling warned in one cartoon. In 1936, at Darling’s urging, President Franklin Roosevelt invited thousands to Washington’s Mayflower Hotel for the first North American Wildlife Conference. The goal, according to Roosevelt, was to “bring together individuals, organizations and agencies interested in the restoration and conservation of wildlife resources.”
The conference resulted in the creation of the General Wildlife Federation — later called the National Wildlife Federation — and Darling was its first president. Today, NWF calls itself the nation’s “largest big tent conservation federation.”
O’Mara said the organization is returning to its hook-and-bullet base, even as it continues to advocate for members including bird lovers and gardeners. On Feb. 24, O’Mara spoke to the Garden Club of America about the threats facing pollinators and the importance of backyard habitat.
“We all agree we need wildlife funding, we need protections of the Endangered Species Act, protections of the Antiquities Act,” O’Mara said. “We’re trying to find that commonality and put that original coalition back together.”
Preaching climate change through wildlife
Wildlife has helped NWF bring attention to climate threats, he said.
“If it’s just carbon, it doesn’t span all those groups,” he said. “It’s a different kind of center of gravity, or rallying cry for what the organization is. That doesn’t mean we’re stepping back from climate in any kind of way. But it means it’s through a lens of wildlife, and local impacts on wildlife and not just global issues.”
Rather than talk about polar bears and puffins, glacial ice melt, or the Maldives being subsumed by rising seas, NWF is tailoring its message to how climate change will affect moose in New Hampshire, mule deer migration in Colorado and the temperature of trout streams.
“You can build a much more bipartisan coalition by focusing on the wildlife impacts than you can if you’re just focused on the man-made question,” O’Mara said. “It’s a very different kind of debate.”
The wildlife message has resonated particularly with Republicans who may be less swayed by academic warnings about climate change, which can sound abstract, O’Mara said. Showing the impacts “to someone’s backyard,” he said, it’s easier to foster conversations on global warming solutions.
O’Mara, who graduated in 1997 from West Genesee High School outside Syracuse, N.Y., where he was class salutatorian and played baseball and basketball, has supported both Republicans and Democrats.
He took a break from Dartmouth College to serve as a staffer for former Rep. James Walsh, a Republican from central New York. As class president at Dartmouth, O’Mara organized hundreds of students in support of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) first presidential bid, and was later named McCain’s youth coordinator for New Hampshire.
O’Mara would later serve as executive director of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee. In 2012, while he was secretary of environment in Delaware, he donated to President Obama’s re-election campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.
NWF’s political action committee in 2010 spent $22,000 — all on Democratic candidates. But in 2014, it spent $15,000 on Democrats and $6,000 on Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
O’Mara said NWF’s priorities moving forward will be to preserve “big landscapes” that host species like bison and bighorn sheep, while defending public lands against state takeover bids.
NWF will continue to support dedicated funding for wildlife both in Congress and in states such as Missouri, where some lawmakers have proposed undoing a dedicated sales tax for conservation, O’Mara said.
Another major effort will be to preserve major waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware River and Mississippi River Delta.
NWF will also redouble its efforts to connect Americans to nature through existing programs like eco-schools and backyard habitats, O’Mara said.
It recently signed a partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service to save the imperiled monarch butterfly, whose population has plunged 90 percent in the past 20 years. NWF’s role will be to inform the public about the importance of milkweed to monarchs and promote its planting across the United States (E&ENews PM, Feb. 9).
‘Richard Louv-style connection’
Youth engagement will be a signature campaign, O’Mara added.
Many of today’s parents grew up on video games and can’t be counted on to get their kids outdoors, O’Mara said. A 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans between ages 8 and 18 spend about 7.5 hours a day in front of some electronic device.
While kids know to turn off lights and recycle, they typically prefer to sit in front of a computer than play in a stream, O’Mara said.
“Kids are doing sustainable things, but it’s not connected to nature,” he said. “We need to have that Richard Louv-style connection to nature.”
Louv is the author of the 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.”
Key to those efforts will be NWF’s partnerships with the Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and state and county parks, O’Mara said. NWF is also urging schools to incorporate outdoor learning into biology, chemistry and physics classes.
NWF worked behind the scenes on the White House’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which was unveiled last month to give all fourth-grade students and their families free admission to national parks during the next school year. By NWF’s estimate, the more time kids spend in nature, the more they’ll become attached to it.
NWF also hosts more than 3,000 eco-schools in the United States, where it supports “‘green’ management of the school grounds, the facilities and the curriculum.” Roughly 4,400 schools have certified NWF habitats. It reaches younger kids through its Ranger Rick and Ranger Rick Jr. magazines, which have a combined circulation of 625,000.
“We just have to make it easy enough for parents and schools, and at the same time attractive enough for kids that it’s worth putting down the iPad,” O’Mara said.
O’Mara was in Denver last week to announce a partnership with FWS to help students build wildlife habitats in their schoolyards that mirror local ecosystems. Two Denver schools will partner with employees at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge north of the city to build habitats that support pollinators, migratory birds and wildlife.
NWF sees the program as an investment in kids’ health, intellectual development and happiness, in addition to recruiting a new generation of conservationists.
Morale at NWF has improved considerably since staff layoffs concluded last August, according to one former NWF employee. O’Mara is credited with having an open door policy and inviting constructive criticism from staff.
The organization has stayed financially solvent thanks to its endowment, which totaled $54 million in mid-2013. But the endowment suffered as a result of NWF’s recent financial woes.
The group has yet to file its financial 990 form for the year ending August 2014.
“The budget is balanced, revenues are up, staffing is probably stronger in the field than probably any time in 30 years,” O’Mara said. “We’re showing strength. We’re showing how we can mobilize a conservation army in a way that nobody else can. If we can do that consistently and efficiently across the entire country, our best days are definitely ahead.”
Hi field team –
In celebration of Women’s History Month this month, the National Wildlife Federation (with your help!) will honor conservation and climate action female heroes past and present like Rachel Carson, Gina McCarthy, and several local leaders who have devoted their time and efforts to reducing carbon emissions, promoting clean energy and protecting wildlife from the risks posed by climate change.
Here are a number of materials to help with your Women’s History Month outreach and events, including talking points, press advisory, release, and LTE templates, and a sample award for your honorees. Please contact me for help with award signatures, printing, event promotion – or anything at all that else you may need. I will bring a number of these Conservation Women handouts to our meeting in Baltimore tomorrow so you can take a stack home with you. All materials can also be found here in this Dropbox folder.
Also Jenny wrote a really great blog that will go live tomorrow at www.nwf.org/ConservationWomen. The blog will link to a new NWF action page to generate letters to Senators on the Clean Power Plan. We encourage you to share, tweet, and retweet this and @nwf stories from your states throughout the month with the hashtag #ConservationWomen.
Many thanks to Jenny, Sam, Linda, Frank, Claudia, Jane, Jennifer, Miles, Meg… all of you for your efforts and creative ideas. I’m really looking forward to seeing everything come together
National Outreach Manager
National Wildlife Federation
Hi, everyone. The launch of our Monarch campaign with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last month garnered a lot of media coverage. I’m excited to share that we’re preparing to roll out the next phase of the program, one that you can help make successful while you help your constituents personally make a difference. Over the next week your Regional Representative will reach out to you with opportunities to participate, but I wanted to first share some information on this exciting campaign.
A new initiative, Butterfly Heroes, will launch this week, and it provides the chance for all of our affiliates to engage. We’ll be going live on March 4 with an online platform that includes a pledge, social media with a focus on kids, and opportunities for conservation of butterfly habitat. Some of you are already working with us on pollinator issues, including the Delaware Nature Society which sponsored a resolution on pollinators for adoption at NWF’s Annual Meeting later this month. Pollinator and Monarch efforts are active at Affiliates, in SC, NJ, DE, NC, MD underway. Also to note:
- NWF and USFWS teams have met to develop a working plan and are engaging regions and affiliates as available and interested in Save the Monarch efforts- with initial geographic roll out in TX, MO, along the I-35 corridor and SE region, starting with Atlanta. Community Wildlife Habitats nationwide are working on plans and promotion to engage citizen.
- Lead staff are: Julie Sibbing (Grasslands, agriculture and forestry and transportation); Mary Phillips, (Garden for Wildlife/Certified Wildlife Habitats-urban/suburban); Patrick Fitzgerald, (Community Wildlife Habitat); Naomi Edelson (State FWS agencies integration with NWF opportunities); and Susan Kaderka, Na Taki Osborne Jelks, Marya Fowler and Geralyn Hoey- for TX, SE and MO efforts to date.
This is an exciting time for our Federation and we will share new opportunities as they become available. Pollinator and Monarch microsites are now up at www.nwf.org/pollinators and www.nwf.org/monarchs. As your Regional Representative reaches out, please update us on any efforts underway or if you would like to play a role in your state.
NWF Field Report February 23-27, 2015
Grassroots Actions: 34
Grasstops Engaged: 13
Event Attendance: 138
Lobby Visits or Calls: 8
Earned Media: 1
This week, President Obama vetoed the bill that would have approved the Keystone XL pipeline. Meanwhile, the NWF outreach team conducted lobby visits, generated media and continued to build on-the-ground leadership in support of the Clean Power Plan, Clean Water Rule and public lands protections.
*For full photos, see attached PDF.
- Virginia//Virginia Conservation Network generated a letter-to-the-editor in support of the Clean Water Rule this week in the Bristol Herald.
Associated Media: Bristol Herald
- Colorado//Public Lands Organizer Bill Dvorak was among the Coloradans on hand Tuesday during a ceremony marking President Obama’s signing of a proclamation creating the 21,586 acre Browns Canyon National Monument.
- Colorado//About 100 people attended a public lands rally organized by sportsmen/women. NWF, its affiliates and other sportsmen’s groups have staged rallies throughout the Rocky Mountain West to protest state legislators’ attempts to take over federally managed public lands.
Associated Media: Yahoo News
- Washington, DC//VICTORY: PRESIDENT OBAMA VETOES KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE BILL!! National Advocacy Center staffers Lena Moffitt, Emily Lande, Tara Losoff, Claudia Malloy, Sam Lockhart, Addie Rolnick, Jenny Rowland, and Matt Hansen attended a rally celebrating the veto and thanking the President for his climate leadership outside of the White House on Tuesday, February 24th.
[EPA Clean Power Plan]
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering limits on carbon pollution from power plants called the Clean Power Plan.
- Virginia//Virginia Conservation Network’s Jessica Greene met with the Secretary of Natural Resources, Lieutenant Governor Northam’s Chief of Staff and the Governor’s Deputy Policy Director regarding participation in an event celebrating the role of Women in Conservation in April.
- Montana//Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager Dave Dittloff gave a presentation at the University of Montana Student Activism Summit in Missoula on organizing nontraditional constituencies on climate change and other conservation issues – 12 people turned out to the talk.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach consultant Ed Perry held a beer and wine summit this week in Harrisburg at the Unitarian Church. Perry gave a presentation to 18 activists regarding the Clean Power Plan, what to expect over the next two years and the actions that they can take to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. Perry generated 34 postcards to Senators Toomey and Casey in support of the Clean Power Plan at the event and engaged with two key grasstops leaders from the Unitarian church and the Citizens Climate Lobby.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry generated an OpEd on the impacts of climate change on wildlife and the need for government action like the Clean Power Plan in the Carlisle Sentinel, Somerset Daily American, Lock Haven Express, and Williamsport Sun Gazette (in addition to the 8 other papers that published the OpEd last week).
- Montana//Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager Dave Dittloff conducted an in-district lobby visit to Senator Tester’s office in Butte, Montana with grasstops from Butte Trout Unlimited and Anacaonda Sportsmen to discuss climate change, the Clean Power Plan and the support for this issue that exists within the sportsmen community.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry conducted a lobby visit and drop off on the Clean Power Plan to the Scranton office of Senator Toomey with grasstop sportsmen Ed Zygmunt. Perry also took three sportsmen grasstops to meet with Senator Casey’s district office manager in Scranton including the President and Vice President of the Lycoming Audubon Society.
- Colorado//Regional Outreach Campaigns Manager David Ellenberger conducted a lobby visit with Senator Gardner’s Denver office with a grasstop sportsman to follow-up on the climate votes surrounding the Keystone XL bill.
- Pennsylvania//Outreach Consultant Ed Perry generated a phone call from the Executive Director Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light to Senator Casey encouraging the Senator to become a climate champion.
- March 3-5: NWF and CAC Field Retreats and Lobby Day in Baltimore/DC
- March 9-15: NWF National Wildlife Week
- March 12: NWF Celebrates #ConservationWomen and Women’s History Month by honoring Cindy Dunn in Harrisburg, PA
- March 13: Climate Change & Its Impact on the Future of Winter Outdoor Sports in Bozeman, MT
- March 17: End of Ozone comment period
- March 17: Ohio Sportsmen event in Columbus
- March 21: NWF annual meeting
- March 25: Grassroots and Press Event in Altoona, PA on Clean Power Plan
- March 25: Pennsylvania lecture series on wildlife and climate change in Altoona, Hollidaysburg, and Cresson.
National Outreach Coordinator
National Wildlife Federation
Hi, everyone. In a few hours, Collin is going to sign an MOU with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formalizing the Federation’s partnership to help restore plummeting Monarch butterfly and other pollinator populations. This partnership will enable NWF and our State Affiliates to leverage the Certified Wildlife Habitat and Gardening for Wildlife programs to restore, protect and connect essential habitats for pollinators in small and large landscapes throughout the nation. The partnership includes the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and will provide conservation dollars to restore and protect habitat that is essential for to bring back pollinator populations.
We’ve put together an excellent website about this groundbreaking new program that features the work that nearly a dozen of our State Affiliates are already doing. That work is featured at http://www.nwf.org/Pollinators/Partners-and-Affiliates.aspx. Thanks to the following affiliates for blazing the way:
NWF Names Mike Shriberg to Oversee Great Lakes Regional Center
January 22, 2015 – The National Wildlife Federation today announced that Mike Shriberg will serve as the next regional executive director of its Great Lakes Regional Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., effective February 19. Shriberg succeeds long-time center director Andy Buchsbaum, who was named NWF’s vice president of conservation action in November.
“Mike is a strong advocate and educator—and will be a powerful voice for the Great Lakes and the fish, wildlife, and communities which rely on them,” said Buchsbaum. “He’s got the experience, leadership, and vision to help the National Wildlife Federation meet the serious challenges facing the Great Lakes today so that we can create a future where every child can connect with, enjoy, and appreciate wildlife.”
Shriberg joins the National Wildlife Federation after serving as the education director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan, where he taught, led undergraduate and graduate sustainability programs, and helped integrate sustainability into academic and operational functions of the university. A long-time Great Lakes advocate, Shriberg previously served as policy director at the Ecology Center, where he oversaw state and federal campaigns on clean energy, clean water, and environmental health. Prior to that, he was the director of Environment Michigan and Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM), where he led successful Great Lakes protection and clean energy campaigns.
Shriberg, who received his Ph.D. and M.S. in resource policy and behavior from the University of Michigan and his bachelors of science from Cornell University, served as an assistant professor and program director of environmental studies at Chatham University in Pittsburgh.
“I’m excited to be joining the National Wildlife Federation and look forward to building on the tremendous success of the Great Lakes office,” said Shriberg. “Together, we can help advance strong conservation and education priorities that make a difference for Great Lakes wildlife, fish, and communities around the region.”
Since 1982, the Great Lakes Regional Center has been a leader in protecting the Great Lakes for the fish, wildlife, and people that depend on this invaluable resource.
Learn more about National Wildlife Federation’s magazines at: www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife.aspx and www.nwf.org/RangerRick. For more National Wildlife Federation news, visit www.nwf.org/news.
This off-schedule and off-format email will serve as our final Legislative Update of the year and the last update for the 113th Congress of the United States. That’s right, the 113th Congress is a wrap as of last night when the Senate finished its business and turned off the lights.
So first, a quick update on the big ticket items we were watching. For more information on the substance of these bills, please see prior legislative updates or the links below:
Public Lands Protections, also known as the Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015: This bill, known colloquially as NDAA became the vehicle for a Public Lands omnibus bill which provides wilderness protection for nearly a quarter of a million acres and advances several NWF priorities. The bill passed the House and was the first must-pass bill to be completed by the Senate last Friday December 12, with a bipartisan 89-11 vote after a few roadblocks by Senator Coburn that were defeated. The bill passed the House on December 4 by a vote of 300-119. NWF’s statement is available here.
The CrOmnibus, also known as the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015: This bill to provide funding for all agencies but Homeland Security through the remainder of the current fiscal year (FY15). NWF appreciated the security of long term funding but raised issues with policy riders and funding cuts. For more please see the CrOmnibus review we sent last week. The bill passed the House 219-206 in a nail biter before the Senate ultimately passed it in a Saturday session by a vote of 74-22. The president signed the bill into yesterday.
Extenders, also known as The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014: This bill extends key tax breaks including those for wind energy production and investment through the remainder of the year and applies to any activates undertaken in 2014. The bill passed the House on December 3 by a vote of 378-46 and passed the Senate last night 76-16 in their final legislative act. NWF’s statement expressing concern that the package didn’t extend these tax credits into the future is available here.
And with that, it’s over. It’s been a doozy of a Congress. We’ve fought off a wide array of attacks on clean air, clean water and wildlife and even made some progress. NWF helped pass a Farm Bill with some key conservation measures and we slogged through a Water Resources Development Act that had some good and some bad.
We’ll have plenty of time for recap and reflection before we begin the 114th, and we promise to send that when it ready, but for now—a big thank you to all. Thanks to our regular Leg Update contributors Addie, Aviva, Bentley, Emily, Lena, Jan and others. Thanks to everyone at NWF who helps us achieve the outcomes we report in this update, and thanks to you for reading every week.
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