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Bicameral Group of Congressional Republicans Form New Caucus to Lead on Conservation

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Yesterday morning, a bicameral group of Republican lawmakers held a press conference announcing the formal launch of a new caucus: the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus. With explicit goals of embracing and promoting “constructive efforts to resolve conservation and environmental problems that align with market-based approaches and promote American ingenuity,” this could be an answer to the radical environmentalism espoused by the Democrat Party and Far Left.

Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced the caucus back in March, which is named in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt.

This announcement came at the heels of President Trump’s recent speech on the state of America’s environmental leadership.

“I think we need to showcase that we care about conservation, we care about the environment, and we have innovative solutions that are not top-down regulatory solutions,” said Senator Graham. “We believe that you cannot have a healthy environment and destroy the economy.”

“We believe our friends on the other side of the aisle care about the environment but they care so much, they are going to destroy the economy in the name of saving the environment.”

“America is the solution, not the problem, when it comes to carbon emissions,” added Graham. “We’re lowering carbon emissions by allowing the private sector to come up with technology that the consumer wants.”

He added that President Trump should be proud of the fact that we have clean air and clean water.

“We believe in innovation when it comes to solving environmental problems, not regulation,” he noted.

“We believe you can have a healthy environment and still fly a plane and eat a hamburger.”

Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), an avid sportsman, followed Graham in delivering comments about the caucus.

“As Republicans, we need to lead on the issue of conservation,” said Senator Daines. “We have the solutions that will actually grow the economy and protect the environment…Those really go hand-in-hand.”

Daines noted a journalist once called him “the conservative conservationist.”

“When we saw what happened in the Senate earlier this year in 92-8 vote—that great public lands package— where we permanently reauthorized LWCF (Land and Water Conservation Fund). Where in my home state, we protected Yellowstone National Park with the Yellowstone Gateway Act…”

“It took public lands to bring divided government together,” Daines added. “This is an issue that can unite this city, bring Republicans and Democrats together with pragmatic solutions that will indeed continue to lead towards clean air, clean water, and protecting our environment.”

“We need to move forward on forest management reform,” Daines noted. “Either we are going to manage our forests, or our forests are going to manage us. We’ve got to deal with the wildlife situation that we have and we can reduce the risk of wildfires and severity of those wildfires by better forest management practices.”

Senator Daines also addressed the nearly $13B maintenance backlog plaguing the National Park Service system.

“We need to eliminate the maintenance backlog in our National Parks,” he said. “We must address this issue. We have a great shot of bringing Republicans and Democrats together to invest about $13B or more in our National Parks.”

He called the National Parks “the Department of First Impressions” and called for further protection of them.

Watch the full press conference below:

Despite evidence to the contrary, Republicans and conservatives have long cared about conservation and have paid into it through excise taxes collected on firearms, fishing tackle, hunting / fishing licenses, archery equipment, and more. Sportsmen and women pay upwards of 60% of conservation funding in this country. You can thank hunters and anglers for the public lands you recreate, the wildlife you admire, and habitats you traverse.

Per a 2012 National Wildlife Federation survey, hunters and anglers overwhelming vote Republican and identify as conservatives. The survey also noted they care about conservation as they do gun rights.

More specifically, the survey found that 42% of respondents were Republican, 32% of respondents were Independent while 18% of respondents considered themselves Democrats.  50% of respondents considered themselves conservative, including 22% in that mix who identified as very conservative.

By default, they are conservationists but don’t realize it yet or feel conservation has been co-opted by preservationists and extremists hellbent on undermining their lifestyle.

As Republicans and conservatives, we must lead on conservation and reclaim true conservation from those who have hijacked it while working with sensible Democrats interested in advancing the same policies.

It’ll be interesting to see if this new bicameral Roosevelt Conservation Caucus can accomplish these goals. We shall see.

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