There is no question that the Trump administration’s early actions on environmental protections threaten conservation and our ability to confront climate change. Like me, you may be feeling alarmed by some of the current administration’s stated objectives. From appointees who are opposed to action on climate change, to proposals to slash the EPA’s staff by two thirds, President Trump has signaled that we must prepare to defend against a federal attack on conservation and our nation’s bedrock environmental protections.
I want to assure you that as federal laws that protect the environment and human health come under attack, Western Resource Advocates will strategically and assertively work to defend against those attacks.
State-level Action Will Be a Powerful Force for Protecting the West
We’re not stopping at defense. Our legal experts are also working harder than ever to ensure that fact-based, pro-conservation policies are enacted at the state level. Protecting the West is still possible, despite the stance of the federal government. We believe state-level action will be a powerful force to:
- Reduce carbon pollution and accelerate the transition to clean energy;
- Safeguard our public lands; and
- Protect our rivers and lakes.
For example, we’ve made significant progress on clean energy, despite the stalling of the federal Clean Power Plan in the courts. Our skilled attorneys have played pivotal roles in shutting down coal-fired power plants in New Mexico and Nevada, and in protecting national forests from oil and gas development. We’ve also made big strides to drive the West’s transition to a clean energy economy. Just last year, we helped advance an agreement that creates Colorado’s largest wind farm, eliminating one million tons of CO2 pollution annually and saving customers up to $443 million over 25 years. And while federal grants and contracts have been frozen, including support for the restoration of rivers and streams, we’ve helped drive effective state-based action like the implementation of the Colorado Water Plan, which will protect our rivers and water future in the face of climate change and growing populations.
Going forward, we’ll be focusing on key opportunities to greatly expand and advance clean energy, and protect rivers and the places where we hike, ski, fish, hunt, raft and marvel at the natural world.
Here at WRA, we pride ourselves on creating fact-based, pragmatic solutions to conservation challenges. We will continue to rely on science and legal expertise to change outdated state policies and mobilize support from business leaders and our communities.
Public Opinion is on the Side of Conservation
We are confident that public opinion is on the side of conservation and using common-sense solutions to protect the environment and to preserve our quality of life and thriving outdoor and agricultural economies. According to the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, 65% of voters in the West want more solar and wind power to be used in their state, versus other sources of energy. The poll also reports that 80% of the public want current national monument designations to remain in place. Last year’s poll reflected the same strong support for keeping public lands in public hands, with three in five Western voters opposing the sale of significant quantities of federal lands. Furthermore, 82% of voters feel that low levels of water in rivers are an “extremely” or “very serious” problem.
For many who are passionate about protecting the places we love, who are concerned about climate change, and who understand that our great rivers are the lifeblood of the West, the new direction of the federal government is understandably causing fear and concern.
We believe that the best counter to fear is action. With our skilled attorneys, economists, engineers and policy experts, we will serve both as a critical line of defense and the driver of progress on conservation priorities.
You Can Take Action
Please also consider donating to provide the resources needed to both defend against attacks and to advance our conservation agenda in the West.
By taking action we can stand up in the face of federal attacks on conservation by committing to advancing clean energy and protecting clean air, flowing rivers, and public lands.
Together, we can confront federal attacks on conservation and protect our quality of life—for our communities, for our children, and for future generations.