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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 MastWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Sen. Rand Paul says he and his wife were 'attacked by an angry mob' after Trump speech Florida Republican apologizes after Facebook posts about sex, rape uncovered MORE (R-Fla.) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikWomen gain uneven footholds in Congress, state legislatures Republicans cast Trump as best choice for women The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Pence rips Biden as radical risk 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 HurdDemocrats seek wave to bolster House majority Trump predicts GOP will win the House Changing suburbs threaten GOP hold on Texas MORE (R-Texas) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonWarren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates Preventing next pandemic requires new bill's global solutions Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' 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 GardnerDemocrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in MORE (R-Colo.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Election night could be a bit messy The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights 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 DainesGOP sees path to hold Senate majority Democrat trails by 3 points in Montana Senate race: poll Poll shows statistical tie in Montana Senate race MORE (R-Mont.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day 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.