Finally, GOP lawmakers prove conservation and conservatism go hand-in-hand

Finally, GOP lawmakers prove conservation and conservatism go hand-in-hand
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Today marks a historic day in building a new brand of the Republican Party. With the official launch of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus (RCC), federally-elected Republicans across the country are proving that conservation and conservatism go hand-in-hand. The Roosevelt Conservation Caucus will focus on Republican-led reforms around National Parks funding, wildlife conservation, ocean preservation and private property rights. Republican leaders in the RCC herald from conservative states like Texas, South Carolina, Alaska and Montana, proving this is a topic that will be of immense importance to Republicans in moderate and deep-red areas.

Despite this major step, Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate have been quietly working on environmental reforms for the past four years. They’ve helped pass the largest public lands funding in U.S. history, major reforms around plastic pollution reduction, a variety of bills that support wind, solar, nuclear, and hydropower energy sources, and support for important technologies that improve the storage capabilities of clean energy. 

Reps. Brian MastBrian Jeffrey MastDemocrats launch bilingual ad campaign off drug pricing bill A new way to address veteran and military suicides VA might not be able to end veteran homelessness, but we shouldn't stop trying MORE (R-Fla.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikOvernight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans push back on bipartisan bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners Trump: Pelosi doesn't want to hand over 'fraudulently produced' articles of impeachment MORE (N.Y.) have been spearheading that fight and will serve as the House co-chairs of the caucus. Mast has been the main pilot on tackling the issues of algal blooms in Florida and has also co-sponsored dozens of bills around public lands, wildlife, and ocean health. In 2017, during her first term in Congress, Stefanik introduced a resolution seeking Republican reforms around climate change, where she was joined by 22 other Republicans. Additionally, she has introduced comprehensive bills to fight invasive species and forest fires. Reps. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHouse Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts Hurd says Democrats, media are being manipulated by Iran Bottom Line MORE (R-Texas) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 The Memo: Impeachment's scars cut deep with Trump, say those who know him Hillary Clinton defends Dingell as 'everything that Trump is not' MORE (R-Mich.), the two vice-chairs on the House side, have been working on important initiatives around climate change and Great Lakes restoration, respectively. 

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On the Senate side, Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Hickenlooper raised .8 million for Colorado Senate bid in fourth quarter of 2019 Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing MORE (R-Colo.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Roberts sworn in to preside over Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) have been helping lead the charge as well. Both have been outspoken supporters of our national parks, common-sense climate change reforms and bipartisan efforts on environmental issues. Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says GOP senators introduce resolution to change rules, dismiss impeachment without articles Congress to clash over Trump's war powers MORE (R-Mont.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPaul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Seven things to know about the Trump trial Trump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer MORE (R-Alaska), who will serve as the Senate vice-chairs, have been long known for their dedication to an all-of-the-above energy strategy, emissions reductions, and overwhelming support for public lands and nature. 

The caucus will first focus on issues like the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which puts existing funding sources into specific state wildlife agencies. Improving the Endangered Species Act — along with support for other at-risk wildlife — is also a chief focus for the caucus. On the issues of public lands, the caucus will be advocating for proper funding of our federal lands, improved management of forests and parks, as well as an increase in public-private partnerships.

Leadership from caucus members has already helped chart a new course for the GOP and allowed others to follow their lead. This movement will continue to grow and make a meaningful impact. Preserving, conserving and protecting our environment should not be partisan. The Republican Party leaders who are serving on the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus have proved that. This is more than a step in the right direction. Bipartisanship and increased involvement from conservatives on the environment is no longer the future. It’s the present.

Benji Backer is the co-founder and president of the American Conservation Coalition, a pro-business environmentalism organization that promotes free-market solutions to environmental issues and advocates for conservation and a sustainable “all of the above” energy approach. Follow the organization on Twitter @ACC_National.