Last week, hearings were held in the House and Senate on the Public Lands Renewable Energy Development Act. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources invited TU’s President and CEO, Chris Wood, to testify in support of the bill. This bill tells a great story we’re not hearing from Washington, DC, very often these days – one where people from both parties work together to move a common-sense piece of conservation legislation. At its core, the bill will establish a new permitting process for developing renewable energy on public lands while giving a portion of revenues back to states and counties, and most importantly to TU, create a new funding source for fish and wildlife habitat conservation. Just listen to Chris Wood’s testimony here to understand why we’ve been building support for this bill:
As renewable energy continues to be developed on public lands, the conservation fund created using royalty revenues will become a dependable source of funds for habitat restoration and hunting and angling access, which will be essential as state and federal budgets for conservation are being trimmed. In addition, a portion of the revenues will be given to states, counties, and deficit reduction. This is why the bill is supported by the Western Governors’ Association and the National Association of Counties, among other varied groups. The wide breadth of support has resulted in an impressively bipartisan list of 70 cosponsors in the House and Senate divided roughly evenly between Republicans and Democrats.
Just like TU’s membership, the lead cosponsors of the bill, Representatives Gosar (R-AZ), Heck (R-NV), Thompson (D-CA), and Polis (D-CO) and Senators Tester (D-MT) and Heller (R-NV), range across the political spectrum, but they have found a way to bridge their differences in the name of a shared vision. This is a testament to TU’s philosophy. Whether it’s working with private landowners to improve irrigation efficiency for their farms while providing water for fish, or bridging political divides, we’re all about bringing together stakeholders to find conservation solutions that work for everyone. We couldn’t do that without our members and supporters who share this philosophy.
So the next time you hear someone complaining about how Congress isn’t doing anything – just tell them to look at TU as a model of how we can all work together.