Elected officials write for action  

U.S. Census: Despite tighter timeline, all in NM deserve to be counted

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Rep. Debbie Sarinana, in the center, surrounded by her students in NM.

OPED BY SEN. LIZ STEFANICS / SANTA FE DEMOCRAT AND REP. DEBBIE SARIÑANA / ALBUQUERQUE DEMOCRAT

Like every other state in the nation, New Mexico relies on the U.S. census to determine our political representation in national and state offices and to receive federal funding to support social, educational, health and economic programs. In other words, the federal government uses these population numbers to determine how much money and political representation each state needs and deserves.

While counting every resident may seem like a simple feat, our state was dealt a tough hand to achieve a complete count in 2020. New Mexico has historically been the hardest state to count in the nation. With a high number of individuals in rural and tribal communities, who receive their mail at P.O. boxes or who have limited internet access, reaching and counting New Mexicans has been a difficult task from the onset.

That count was made all the more difficult when President Trump and the U.S. Census Bureau announced they were shortening the window of opportunity to respond by an entire month. We now only have until Sept. 30 to stand up and be counted. More

Dear Gov. Newsom, Declare a state of emergency for the climate crisis

Oped by Firebaugh City former Mayor & current council-member Felipe Perez

Dear Governor Newsom, During mid-August, dozens of fires raged out of control forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes as a prolonged heat bubble pushed temperatures into triple digits and threatened to overload the state’s power grid. Death Valley recorded the hottest recorded temperature on the planet at 130 degrees. These crises erupted during your heroic fight against the pandemic, which has seen too many become jobless and communities of color disproportionately affected. As an elected official I understand you’re doing your utmost during this historic time and I thank you.

However, while you wasted no time declaring a state of emergency for coronavirus, and another for the catastrophic fires, you’ve neglected the climate emergency that is the root cause of the infernos. Yet, in a press briefing of August 21, you said human use of fossil fuels causes greenhouse gasses which in turn has fueled, “the ferocity of the fires.” Then you confirmed your commitment to moving the state off of fossil fuels. More

Alignment with national security mission provides meaningful employment for military veterans

Oped by Dan Misch, U.S. Navy Veteran

Reliable access to affordable energy has been a primary driver in the past century of economic growth that made the United States a global powerhouse. The energy grid is complex and critical infrastructure that is central to our way of life. For that reason, improving and protecting the grid is paramount to national security.

Many military veterans — who have spent their careers protecting our national interests — are now finding a new mission in the energy industry. These veterans continue to defend the country by applying both the technical and leadership skills that they gained in the military to the deployment and operation of smart grid technology at home. More

Be a Californian climate champion

Oped by Riddhi S. Patel and Cesar Aguirre

Cesar Aguirre and Op-ed by Riddhi S. Patel

California’s youth climate activists have been working after school, between jobs, before and during the pandemic to organize support for Assembly Bill 345, a bill that would have established a minimum buffer zone between oil drilling and neighborhoods.

In solidarity with frontline communities, we sent letters, called our state senators and built power among youth activists determined to move California beyond fossil fuels. More

Mayor Mitch Colvin: Tillis’ actions on environment place Fayetteville at risk

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Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville, NC

Oped by Mitch Colvin, Mayor of Fayetteville
Jul 25, 2020 published in The Fayetteville Observer
North Carolina, we have to pay attention.

As Mayor of Fayetteville, I have had the honor of leading through some tough challenges. In 2016 and 2018, respectively, Hurricanes Matthew and Florence hit North Carolina hard, particularly the citizens of Fayetteville. We saw lives ravaged by these natural disasters. They made us more keen, more aware of the dangers impacting our environment and the urgency we must have in addressing them.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis is leading an effort that is putting lives in jeopardy. More.

We need to ban fracking now

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Mayor Heidi Harmon of San Luis Obispo, CA

Oped by Mayor Heidi Harmon of San Luis Obispo – April 23, 2020 – Published in The New Times

The oil and gas industry fear the continued drop in the prices of their products worsened by the pandemic. They want to ensure our dependency on fossil fuels by taking advantage of this life-threatening virus. While Gov. Gavin Newsom is heroically combating COVID-19, the federal government has been rolling back environmental protections and lifting restrictions to allow for more drilling. They are gambling with our lives, for their profits.

In California, 24 permits for new fracking wells in Kern County were approved on April 3, 2020. Our Department of Conservation may approve 282 more fracking permits any day. More

4,002: Not Just a Statistic

July 25, 2020 – Oped by Sanya Bery

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In May, the Navajo Nation reached the grim milestone of having the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate in America. Then, with 4,002 confirmed cases, the Nation averaged around 2,304 cases per 100,000 people. To put that in perspective, New York state had a rate of 1,806 cases per 100,000 and New Jersey was at 1,668.  

4,002 cases is an easy statistic to read about. It blends into the data we consume hourly. 4,002 cases is easy to say out loud, too. 4,002. But 4,002 cases is not easy to think about. It’s not easy to think about because as soon as we begin to really think about it, we must also wonder how the Navajo Nation has the highest per-capita infection rate in America, when it has one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the world. We must question why, at a time when handwashing is a matter of life and death, one in three Navajo citizens do not have access to indoor plumbing? More.

Comptroller DiNapoli: Divest from fossil fuels now

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William Reinhardt, an NY Albany County Legislator

Oped by William Reinhardt, an NY Albany County Legislator – July 20, 2020

New York State pensions are intended to provide secure futures. The state should never gamble with them. But that’s exactly what’s happening in a high stakes game by continuing to invest state worker’s retirement funds in the fossil fuel industry. In the summer of 2017, over 238 Elected Officials to Protect New York signed a bipartisan letter to Comptroller DiNapoli, urging divestment from the Common Retirement Fund’s top 200 companies with the largest carbon-content fossil fuel reserves by 2020. Nothing happened.

Because it has taken too long for DiNapoli to act the legislature stepped in. But DiNapoli wrote in a Times Union op-ed of July 12 against our lawmaker’s legislation saying it, “would threaten the independence of the comptroller’s office to make investment decisions solely in the interest of retirees, current and future.”More

ProgressNow keeps our eyes on the wrong prize

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Oped by Sen. Mimi Stewart, and Rep. Debbie Sarinana/July 17, 2020 – Published in the ALBUQUERQUE DEMOCRAT  

The people of Nevada maintain a special relationship with our environment that transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. Recreating in our public lands can bring us closer to our families and friends.

Surrounded by a breathtaking landscape recharges our batteries, renewing our souls. More

Gov. Newsom: Put people first, not corporate profits

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Oped by Former Culver City Mayor, current council-member Meghan Sahli-Wells, July 18, 2020  

Dear Governor Gavin Newsom, On Earth Day I awoke to a tremor. On April Fools 2019, no fooling, an oil spill started above Culver City Park, at the northwest side of Inglewood Oil Field, shutting down part of the highway. Hundreds of children play in our park—right next to Inglewood where over 5,000 barrels of oil are extracted daily.

During Thanksgiving in 2018 there was another incident. In 2010 our Dog Park was shut down due to methane seepage. Two major toxic releases occurred in 2005 and 2006. The deadly Baldwin Hills dam failure of 1963 was due to drilling. Small incidents are ongoing. The big ones reach the news. To these oil giants this is business as usual in Inglewood—the largest urban oil field in America.  More

Torn between the consequences of reopening too early or too late

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Oregon State Representative Paul Evans

Oped By Oregon State Representative Paul Evans – May 22, 2020

Published in the Statesman Journal: “God made time, but man made haste.” Irish Proverb Oregon is a critical junction in the COVID-19 response efforts. We’ve contained the virus through statewide social distancing mandates. However, the impacts of our actions are and likely shall remain dreadful. As the threat of contagion lingers, the question becomes how we balance those realities.

For those I represent, it’s not an academic question. They include hundreds of small business owners losing money on a daily basis because they cannot operate at full capacity. I represent working families depending upon unemployment; laid-off workers uncertain if the job they left will return. And I represent people gravely. More.

Manlius councilor: NY should invest more in clean energy economy

Oped by Katelyn Kriesel, a Town Councilor in the Town of Manlius | Special to Syracuse.com, April 23, 2020

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Over 14,000 people have died from COVID-19 in New York State. That is a staggering number, and beyond heartbreaking. It is nearly incomprehensible how so many lives have been lost in such a short time, and to an enemy we cannot see. As we try to come to terms with this catastrophic event, we are only beginning to understand the serious threat that pandemics represent to mankind.

My professional career has focused on the risk that climate change poses to our society, but only now am I as focused on how it will affect pandemics like the coronavirus. The CDC has warned that as climate change worsens, so will rates of infectious disease. Pandemics like this one would occur more frequently and more severely. But there is a solution to this threat. More.

To protect our public lands, we must protect the Interior Department from Bernhard

Oped by New York State Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz, March 24, 2020

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New York State Assembly
Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz

When I’m not at my desk working, I’m out in the community. Being with people, hearing their dreams, concerns and needs makes me proud and humble to be working for them. But I’m worried as intensive flooding, increased temperatures, and continued sea levels rising threatens our communities and challenges our infrastructure. We know all too well that New York City is vulnerable. We must to everything we can to make sure extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy or Maria don’t become regular occurrences. We must be proactive.

That’s why I stand with the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands. We are the only group of serving elected officials who are veterans dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s public lands for all. By doing so we are continuing the Constitutional vows, we take as veterans and elected officials, to preserve and protect our nation. More.

Don’t let the President rob part of Montana’s soul

Oped by State Sen. Frank Smith (MT), January 28, 2020

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The people of Montana maintain a special relationship with our environment that transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. It’s a part of our soul.

Soon after President Theodore Roosevelt established approximately 230 million acres of national forests and parks, wildlife reserves and 18 national monuments he said, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land, but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) continues his legacy. Created 52 years ago it protects our public lands with conservation and recreation purposes. More.

Our duty to country did not end when we retired; veterans must reawaken spark of civic duty

 STATESMAN JOURNAL – Oped by Oregon State Representative Major Paul L. Evans USAF (Ret)

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This past weekend America celebrated Veterans Day. It is set-aside for reflection upon the impacts of service to our nation, state, and community: an opportunity for us all to recognize the sacrifice of our military families.

We live in a time when young men and women born since the Terrorist Attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are now deploying to distant lands to continue the fight against our enemies. A generation of warriors has passed since we began this conflict: it is surreal to reflect upon the realities of these young patriots traveling the same roadways, staging at the same bases, and perhaps, engaging some of the very same opponents that we did in our youth. More.

To combat climate change, end reliance on fossil fuels

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Mayor Jesse Arreguin of Berkeley, CA speaking

Oped by Mayor JESSE ARREGUIN -PUBLISHED: December 11, 2019

Mercury News and The East Bay Times

Last month, 11,000 scientists signed onto a study that showed that not only is human-caused climate change real, but it has become a global emergency. Just reading the news shows a world being impacted daily by climate change. We’ve recently witnessed flooding in Venice and fires in Australia, while California underwent yet another red flag warning.

All of this is happening while the United States has begun the process to become the only country in the world to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which is seen as a critical accord to prevent global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. The agreement seeks to keep the increase below 1.5 degrees. Reaching a 2 degree increase would result in irreversible damage to Earth’s climate.More.

Let’s divest state funds from fossil fuel companies – Felix Ortiz

Guest oped by New York State Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz – December 16, 2019  – Published in the Brooklyn Reporter

Planet Earth is experiencing a climate crisis. The actions we take now as a society will impact the quality of life for future generations.

Greenhouse gases are produced by burning natural gas, oil and coal (fossil fuels). These gases rise into the atmosphere where they trap the warmth of the sun’s rays, increasing the temperature of the planet and leading to climate change. The effects of climate change are felt worldwide.

In New York, unpredictable weather patterns and severe storms are affecting food production, raising the sea level, diminishing air quality and decreasing the availability of safe, habitable land. We need to take every action possible to mitigate continued damage to the environment. More.

Gov. Newsom, it’s time to phase out oil and gas production in California, SLO mayor says

CA San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, speaking

Oped by San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon, SEPTEMBER 25, 2019, Published in The Tribune

As a mom, I know that my kids’ futures depend on immediate action to halt the deepening climate crisis. As mayor of San Luis Obispo, I know the power of our communities working together, and why California must lead this fight to address the climate crisis at its source.

That’s why I’m joining more than 275 local elected officials from 47 counties calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to create a plan to phase out oil and gas production in California. More.

Join me to keep Bernhard from stealing our birth right to access America’s public lands

Oped by New Mexico State Rep. Debra Sariñana, math teacher and air-force military veteran, March 24, 2019

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New Mexicans were disheartened and angered about government shutdown. According to a WalletHub study, New Mexico was one of the hardest hit, especially our outdoor recreation economy, which generates $9.9 billion in consumer spending annually and employs 99,000. Our public lands were directly threatened. We still don’t know the damage done to our ecosystems and cultural heritage.

Some of my most enduring childhood memories are of seeing Albuquerque from the top of the Sandia Mountains. That view always fills me with hope, and the belief, that we the people can do anything.

When I became a mother the Sandia experiences inspired me to take my children to La Luz Trail, Both Park Lake and Blue Hole—with its crystal-clear cavern it’s one of the most unique geological phenomena in the Southwest. More.

More of Arizona’s public lands are at risk – help me save them

Oped by Arizona State Rep. Mark Cardenas, March 22, 2019

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Veterans don’t distinguish each other by which political party we are affiliated with; we stand by and with our Constitution. I consider it my duty to stand by our public lands, protecting them for future generations.

But under the Trump administration public lands have been sold off for oil and gas development in Arizona. In September, the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, leased land to energy companies within three miles of Petrified Forest National Park, dangerously near a habitat for a federally threatened fish called the Little Colorado spine-dace. Fracking or drilling could be catastrophic for the region’s groundwater. Fracking consumes enormous amounts of water and threatens wildlife, farmlands and public health.

President Theodore Roosevelt established approximately 230 million acres of national forests and parks, wildlife reserves and 18 national monuments. He once said, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land, but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.” More.

Maryland’s blue crabs are at risk with Trump’s Interior Department

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Oped by Maryland State Delegate Pat Young, March 25, 2019

The people of Maryland understand that the sustainability of our lands depends on us – all of us. We know that proper stewardship of these lands is essential to the continued health of our communities, State and Nation which we all serve.

I stand with an unique group of individuals who are both Veterans and elected officials. Today we hold another common bond, that of being a part of the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Land. We are dedicated to the preservation and protection of America’s public lands. We feel that this is our duty, as veterans who served to protect this nation from threats foreign and as elected officials who serve to craft sound domestic policy in the best interest of our constituents. More.

If we don’t stand behind our natural resources, we risk losing them forever

Oped by State Sen. David Parks (NV), March 25, 2019

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The people of Nevada maintain a special relationship with our environment that transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. Recreating in our public lands can bring us closer to our families and friends. Surrounded by a breathtaking landscape recharges our batteries, renewing our souls.

President Theodore Roosevelt established approximately 230 million acres of national forests and parks, wildlife reserves and 18 national monuments. He once said, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land, but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us. Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”

Our national legacy of a million square miles of publicly owned lands makes America unique, but it’s being sacrificed to oil and gas interests, under the President’s nominee for Interior Secretary, David Bernhardt, an ex- oil lobbyist with deep ties to corporate polluters. More.

Stop Bernhardt from destroying our public lands, our health depends on it

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Oped by Illinois State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, March 25, 2019

If we don’t protect our natural resources, we risk losing them forever. In the process will endanger our health, the health of the people we love, and that of future generations.

I cherish the times I’ve been able to spend time relaxing in our parks. Overwhelming issues become clearer surrounded by nature and others recreating. Our public lands serve as a place where families can camp, fish, swim, sail, hunt, and enjoy the outdoors. They serve us well. But when I see yoga classes taking deep breaths in the park, I sometimes worry because of the level of our air pollution. Chicago ranked the sixth worst for asthma in the nation, in 2015, which has been linked directly to poor quality air. Ensuring that we protect public places nationwide is vital for the health and well-being of all our citizens. More.

Do NOT let Bernhardt, oil lobbyist, become Sec. of the Interior

Oped by Oregon State Rep. Paul Evans, March 25, 2019

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The federal shutdown brought destruction to our parks with brimming trashcans, overflowing toilets, and trespassers. Crater Lake closed because forest rangers worried that human feces could overflow into the lake. The eco-systems could take decades to repair.

Oregonians understand that sustainability of our place and people depends on us – all of us. We maintain a special relationship with our environment: it transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. That’s why I stand with the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands (EOPA). We are the only group of serving elected officials who are also veterans, dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s public lands for all. By doing so we are continuing the Constitutional vows, we take as veterans and elected officials, to preserve and protect our nation. More.

Protect Alaska’s public lands from too much oil development

Oped by City Councilman Mike Dryden, March 14, 2019

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Our national legacy of a million square miles of publicly owned lands makes America unique, but it’s being sacrificed to oil and gas interests, under the Trump administration’s acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Alaska is at risk. Our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the largest national wildlife refuge in the country.

As a veteran I consider it my duty to protect it for all Americans.

During the government shutdown, National Park employees couldn’t care for our public lands, but the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) never stopped furloughed workers from issuing permits in Alaska to special interests for development. The shutdown rolled out a welcome mat for the oil and gas industry, while breaking multiple federal laws. Bernhardt used the government shutdown to ignore laws that protect our air, water, wildlife and public lands. More.

We cannot allow an oil lobbyist become Secretary of the Interior

Oped by Oregon State Rep. Paul Evans, March 24, 2019

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The federal shutdown brought destruction to our parks with brimming trashcans, overflowing toilets, and trespassers. Crater Lake closed because forest rangers worried that human feces could overflow into the lake. The eco-systems could take decades to repair.

Oregonians understand that sustainability of our place and people depends on us – all of us. We maintain a special relationship with our environment: it transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. That’s why I stand with the Elected Officials to Protect America’s Lands (EOPA). We are the only group of serving elected officials who are also veterans, dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s public lands for all. By doing so we are continuing the Constitutional vows, we take as veterans and elected officials, to preserve and protect our nation. More.

Take action now to aid our ecosystem and climate, by John McCoy

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For The Washington Herald– Commentary: Take action now to aid our ecosystem and climate

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Oped By Washington State Sen. John McCoy

The Southern Resident orcas could go extinct. Their populations have dwindled from around 200 to merely 74. A calf recently was born, but no calf has survived in the last three years.

More than a century of development and pollution, along with climate change are to blame. We’ve caused these problems, we’ve a duty to save them, thereby saving the environment we all share. We’re all connected and must work together for a sustainable future. More.

Let’s Save Our Public Lands by Felix Ortiz

Oped by New York State Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (NY) – September 19, 2018

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Bold action is needed now to mitigate climate change. If we miss this opportunity to enact clean energy laws today, our children may face serious consequences. If we miss any opportunity to protect our environment, our children will suffer. That’s why I’m proudly standing with over 79 veterans who are lawmakers to protect America’s public lands. Together, we’ve signed a letter to Interior Secretary Zinke in support of the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The disastrous effects of climate change storms like Hurricane Sandy, Maria and now Florence left a path of destruction and many homeless. Harsh winters, intensive flooding, increasing temperatures and continued sea level rising all threaten our lives and livelihoods, our communities and infrastructure. We must be proactive in leading the way to protect the environment. We must protect the future of our children and grandchildren. We must protect our public lands. More

We need to protect our cultural heritage — our public lands

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Oped by Maine State Representative Robert Alley, September 4, 2018

Special to the Bangor Daily News

At a time when Gov. Paul LePage’s Department of Environmental Protection is sending out ozone alerts warning of serious health risks to Maine residents simply trying to breathe, it is also proposing to pull Maine out of a key regional interstate program that has helped reduce smog and ozone — especially for downwind states such as ours, which bear the brunt of the serious health impacts.

From lobster fishing to hunting game in our wilderness, we know our way of life depends upon the health of our ecosystems. Protecting our coast protects our cultural heritage and a way of life we can’t afford to lose. With temperatures on the rise, our fishing industries are at risk. Scientists have found that our lobsters are slowly moving north because of the increase in the ocean’s temperature, and ocean acidification is damaging their shells. More.

Our heath depends on the health of our public lands, that’s why I’m working with a collation of veterans to protect them

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Oped by Illinois State Rep. Linda ChapaVia

If we don’t stand behind our natural resources, we risk losing them forever. That’s why I recently signed a letter with other lawmakers who are veterans, in support of the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Since its establishment by Congress in 1964, the LWCF has been a bipartisan commitment that safeguards our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage.

Protecting our environment is protecting our health. Asthma rates in our state are too high. Chicago ranked the sixth worst for asthma in the nation, in 2015. Air pollution exasperates the condition, especially for children and older adults. Ensuring that we protect our public places is vital for the health and well-being of all our citizens. More.

To Secretary Zinke, help veterans who are lawmakers reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund

August 15, 2018

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Oped by Washington State Senator John McCoy

As I write, we find ourselves in another “fire season.” This wasn’t always the case in our beloved state of Washington. Now, tragically too many communities are at risk of being torn apart by flames every year. I only hope no one is harmed. I’m thankful for our first responders for the tremendous job they do protecting us.

But every year when we don’t have a substantial snowmelt we know what to expect. The scientific facts show our planet is heating up. We must do everything within our power to protect our natural wonders for future generations, and that takes a bipartisan effort. More

Now is the time for all Oregonians to come to the aid of our air, lands, and waterways

September 19, 2018 – Oped by Oregon State Rep. Paul Evans

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Oregonians maintain a special relationship with our environment: it transcends ideology, party, and socio-economic station. We know stewardship means a shared responsibility. We understand that sustainability of our place and people depends on us – all of us. This is why I joined legislators and elected officials from across the country and signed a letter asking for reauthorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) within the US Department of Interior.

The LWCF was established in 1964. Since then it has served as a bipartisan commitment, safeguarding our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage. It provides a critical tool for our conservation programming. Tragically, it will suffer drastic cuts if the US Congress adopts Secretary Zinke’s budget recommendations. More.

New ways to defend public lands by Michael Sheehy

Oped by Ohio State Rep. Michael Sheehy, Published on Aug. 18, 2018 in the BLADE

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Ohio State Rep. Michael Sheehy

Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a bipartisan commitment to our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage. That’s why I’ve joined a national coalition of 45 elected U.S. Military veterans standing up for the fund against attacks on American public lands.

The LWCF has a proven record of accomplishment as one of our most successful conservation programs, drawing on funds from offshore oil and gas royalties — not taxpayers — to develop and preserve natural ecosystems. However, LWCF is set to expire September 30 without a reauthorization from Congress. The U.S. Senate has not yet come to a final decision, and while Secretary Zinke has offered a few statements of support for the fund, he has also proposed cutting it by 95 percent. More.

Sen. Munoz: Reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund is a win-win situation

From the State Journal Register in Chicago – Oped By State Sen. Antonio Munoz, December 11, 2018

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Ill State Sen. Antonio Munoz

As a lifelong city-dweller, I never gave much thought to public lands. I thought those were concerns of populations living in sparsely populated rural areas, near remote wildlife refuges or grandiose national parks. I had never heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund growing up; but, like many Chicago natives, I unknowingly enjoyed the fruits of its labor. It wasn’t until I started representing the people of 1st District in the Illinois Senate that I realized the work LWCF has been doing, mostly behind the scenes, for decades.

LWCF, founded in 1964, is a bipartisan commitment to protecting public spaces. It is funded by royalties paid by private oil companies drilling offshore. It costs the taxpayers nothing but protects and provides public spaces for communities across the nation. More.

Conservation fund should be reauthorized

Oped by New Mexico State Rep. Debbie Sarinana in the Albuquerque Democrat. September 23, 2018

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I’ve lived in or around Albuquerque most of my life. I grew up here, raised my children here, and as the state representative for House District 21, I’ve seen my wonderful quirky city from every angle. Still, I’ll never forget the first time I saw it, from the top of the Sandia Mountains.

I was 9 years old and a member of Girl Scout Troop No. 570. Our troop and chaperones set out early one weekend to hike the La Luz Trail to the highest point of the Sandia Mountains. It was the first time hiking for most of us, and we were enchanted by the ponderosa pines, excited – and a little scared – by the rocky, winding path, and surprised by the old twisted juniper jutting out of the middle of the trail. Most of all, we were awestruck the first time we saw Albuquerque from the top of the mountain. More.