Conservatives for Environmental Reform's Statement on the National Park Service Legacy Act of 2017

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

Conservatives for Environmental Reform would like to offer its endorsement of H.R. 2584, the National Park Service Legacy Act of 2017, introduced by Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX). The National Park service has been consistently underfunded in recent years, which has led to a substantial backlog of unfinished maintenance projects. This bipartisan bill is a welcome improvement to our National Parks Service and is been overdue for quite some time.

H.R. 2584 gradually increases funding for the National Parks Service and sets baseline funding for the next 30 years. The funding is exclusively earmarked for improving or maintaining historical monuments, visitor safety and experience, in addition to improving the accessibility of national parks. These projects are necessary to make sure every American has the opportunity to experience America’s natural wonders. The National Parks Service Legacy Act of 2017 also encourages public-private partnership and outlines guidelines for how private citizens can assist in funding the maintenance of America’s natural parks. These provisions highlight that the fight to maintain these national parks rests on both the Federal government and charitable citizens.

It is also significant to note that all funding for this legislation will be provided by mineral revenues collected by the Federal government. At CFER, we understand the importance of limiting mineral extraction on Federal land; however, the most appropriate use of these funds is direct environmental conservation which this bill accomplishes. 

Conservatives for Environmental Reform Statement on Brock Long's Confirmation To Become FEMA Administrator

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

We are pleased that the Senate has finally confirmed Brock Long to be Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  One of President Trump's most qualified nominees, Mr. Long has spent the majority of his career in emergency management.  He will not be a stranger to the Agency, as he once served as FEMA's Regional Hurricane Planner and Response Team Leader.

CFER advocates for greater state and local control in environmental policy, and Mr. Long has indicated he intends to send funds to local governments to oversee their disaster relief.  Simply put: local governments know more about how to fix their problems than unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.  As a former Administrator of Alabama's Emergency Management Agency, we are optimistic Mr. Long will give more responsibility to the individuals who are best suited to address their communities' needs. In his confirmation hearing, Mr. Long remarked how FEMA has been regressively reactive, instead of taking a proactive approach—we expect that will change under his leadership.

Despite Long’s numerous and indisputable qualifications, he wasn’t confirmed until months after President Trump’s nomination. This means Mr. Long will assume his post well into hurricane season—a handicap that could cost both money and lives. We hope Administrator Long’s confirmation is a harbinger for normal order in the Senate confirmation process—key posts in multiple federal emergency management agencies remain unfilled, in large part due to obstructionist policies pursued by Senate Democrats. If they continue to play politics instead of working to ensure key federal agencies are adequately staffed, they running the risk of leaving Americans nationwide without federal aid or assistance during times of natural disasters.


Conservatives for Environmental Reform's Statement on the Flood Protection Act

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

Last week, Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Flood Protection Act, which allocates three billion dollars for projects that enhance coastal infrastructure and wetlands to alleviate flooding.

When a city floods, it is a truly catastrophic event, that costs people their homes, vehicles, businesses, and even their lives. Fixing and updating dated infrastructure in coastal cities will mitigate damage from future floods. Bipartisan solutions to big problems are increasingly difficult to come by, so we are very pleased that Representatives Moulton and Curbelo were willing to set aside their differences and find common ground on an important issue. 

"Flood protection should be a bipartisan concern,” said Joanna Rodriguez, Representative Curbelo's spokesperson. “We hope to garner and continue building support from areas across the country that are most at risk.”


Conservatives for Environmental Reform's Statement on the United States Withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement

During the President’s trip to the G7 summit last week we were encouraged by National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn’s statement that, "we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly.”

It is heartening to see the President's top economic adviser recognize that natural gas, wind, and solar power are the future of American energy production, but this makes the Administration's decision to remove the United States from the Paris Agreement all the more puzzling.

One of the biggest downsides to leaving the Paris Agreement would be the removal of the United States from the global environmental conversation.  When the United States does not lead, it gets left behind, and world leaders are already saying as much. A few days ago, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres gave a speech sharing that sentiment, saying “...if one country [like the United States] decides to leave a void, I can guarantee someone else will occupy it.”

With the Group of Seven, European Union, China, and every UNFCCC member state except Syria and Nicaragua reaffirming their commitment to the Agreement, now is not the time for the United States to back out. If the President truly wants to "Make America Great Again," he needs to affirm our position as the climate leader—not shrink into the background and allow other nations and institutions to lead the way.


Conservatives for Environmental Reform Statement on ACT NOW

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

CFER is excited to announce that we have signed ACT NOW's carbon pricing initiative based in Washington state. CFER is supportive of a revenue neutral and gradual carbon pricing strategy. So long as the proposal allows sufficient time for businesses to adjust to the change and keeps the tax relatively low, a carbon pricing initiative fits well within our conservative values.Carbon pricing, in some form, is supported by 54% of Republicans and the majority of economists. It is crucial that conservatives continue to embrace this idea and move the conversation forward. Alternative liberal proposals institute a far-reaching tax hike that would harm taxpayers and inhibit economic growth. Carbon pricing is not only a fiscally conservative approach to environmental responsibility, but also offers strong benefits for taxpayers simultaneously.

CFER Founder and President Benji Backer said the following: “As long as the carbon pricing initiative in Washington state is approached from the right perspective, we believe it is the best way to reduce emissions, all while promoting conservative values."

CFER advocates for free market solutions to environmental challenges. In line with this core part of our organization's mission, we are proud to join other conservative environmental groups in supporting the ACT NOW initiative.


Conservatives for Environmental Reform Statement on the Fairbanks Declaration

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed the multilateral climate agreement known as the Fairbanks Declaration. Joining our partners in the Arctic nations, the United States has committed to accepting and combating climate change in the region. CFER is proud to support this effort.

The Trump Administration has been deliberating about whether to remain a part of the Paris Climate Accord.  Similarly, there have not been many positive signs about their commitment to being engaged in the global environmental conversation.

For this issue to be adequately addressed, the United States must lead on the global stage. With the Administration's announcement on the Paris Accord hopefully coming in the next month, we are optimistic they will choose to remain at the forefront and lead in finding innovative solutions.

We are very pleased with the their decision and we hope that this is a precursor for future sound environmental policy in the Trump Administration.


Conservatives for Environmental Reform Statement on S. 826: The WILD Act

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

Conservatives for Environmental Reform would like to offer an enthusiastic endorsement of the WILD Act. The WILD Act is a comprehensive and bipartisan plan for addressing the deterioration of fish and wildlife habitats in the United States. This legislation takes a four-part approach to improve habitats by reauthorizing Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, amending the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, reauthorizing the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, as well as introducing a prize competition for private citizens making advances in conservation strategies and technologies.

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to give financial aid and technical assistance to private land owners who have significant wildlife or fish on their property. The WILD Act mandates the reauthorization Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program from 2018 to 2022 and will receive $100 million annually. This effort will be aided significantly by the second section of the WILD Act which amends sections of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act. These amendments will give the Federal Government increased ability to cooperate with states, localities and tribes to combat ecological threats.

Sections three and four of the WILD Act are essential in making sure the United States remains the world leader in conservation efforts and technology. Under this legislation, the Multinational Species Conservation Fund would be reauthorized, giving increased protection to Asian elephants, African elephants, tigers, rhinoceroses, apes and marine turtles amongst others. The overall budget for the reauthorization of Multinational Species Conservation Fund is relatively slim and will likely cost under $10 million annually. The bill’s final section deals exclusively with creating prize competitions for American citizens who make substantial advances in wildlife conservation, combatting invasive species, restoring endangered species and in the prevention of poaching. These prizes will be called Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prizes and at least one must be given out every year for each of the four categories. The Secretary of the Interior will have the discretion to give additional prizes if there is money in the budget and he or she deems it appropriate. 

We hope that the 115th Congress continues to craft effective legislation to deal with the many environmental challenges the United States of America.



CFER Statement on New Advisory Board Members

Seattle, WA — Conservatives for Environmental Reform has released the following statement:

CFER is very excited to announce the addition of former Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC), Washington Policy Center Environmental Director Todd Myers, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Audubon Society Justin Stokes to our advisory board.

“The future belongs to those who can offer solutions to the challenges at hand,” said Inglis, former Ranking Member on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. “Young conservatives have a charge to keep when it comes to offering solutions that will work for climate change."

“Technology that allows us to do more with less is the key to environmental sustainability.  Politicians try to force people to change their lifestyles which is both unfair and ineffective,” said Myers. “Free-market innovation has given us the Prius, drones that allow farmers to reduce their use of fertilizer and pesticide, the LED lightbulb which reduces energy use and numerous other technologies that reduce resource use. I’m glad to be part of [CFER] because we need to move beyond the environmentalism of the 1970s and embrace innovation, which is the true future of sustainability.”

"As a lifelong conservative, I am pleased to join this effort,” said Stokes, former Chief of Staff for Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “A balanced, fiscally-responsible approach to environmental stewardship is important for our nation, and I look forward to continuing to help advance these principles among fellow conservatives across America."

Note: CFER Advisory Board members have only endorsed CFER personally, and are not doing so on behalf of their organizations.


CFER Statement Announcing First Four Advisory Board Members

March 7, 2017

Seattle, WA – Conservatives for Environmental Reform released the following statement:

CFER is excited to announce the addition of former senior EPA official Brent Fewell, Citizens Climate Lobby Conservative Director Peter Bryn, R Street President Eli Lehrer, and Washington Initiative 732 Founder Yoram Bauman as founding members of our advisory board

"We are delighted and honored to announce the first four CFER advisory board members," said CFER Founder and President Benji Backer. "Each member has done significant work nationwide to instill conservative and pro-environment solutions. We look forward to having their guidance and support." 

"It’s extremely encouraging to witness the next generation of American conservative leadership embrace the environment as an important issue," Fewell stated in an online post last week.

"Many conservatives are seeking a home to express their concern for the significant conservation issues of our time" said Bryn. "That is why the mission of CFER and other 'eco-right' organizations is so important: to empower and educate conservatives who have been left out of this discussion to get back to the negotiating table and participate in the search for solutions."

"For far too long, groups working to get young people interested in environmental issues have focused on cumbersome, big-government solutions," said Lehrer. "Such solutions rarely work and always cost more than they should. Conservatives for Environmental Reform promises a new approach that I am delighted to endorse and thrilled to support." 

Backer also added: "While Conservatives for Environmental Reform is led by millennial activists nationwide, we are thrilled to have the guidance from some of our nation's top conservative and pro-environment leaders."

CFER will be announcing more members in the coming weeks. Please see the full advisory board here.


CFER Statement on EPA Administrator Pruitt’s CPAC and President Trump’s Joint Session of Congress Speeches

March 2, 2017

Seattle, WA – Conservatives for Environmental Reform released the following statement:

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt laid out a bold agenda to restore federalism to the agency. He spoke about the agency's need to meet its requirements set by Congress. "We are not going to bypass lawmaking. We are going to do the work Congress said that we must do to advance those issues," he said.

On Tuesday, in his first Joint Session of Congress, President Trump vowed to protect "clean air and clean water," two vital functions of the EPA. According to The Hill, the President is considering a 24% cut to the EPA's budget. Administrator Pruitt has stated that he is "concerned" with such drastic quotes. We strongly urge the President, who ran on his ability to hire people and delegate responsibilities, to take Pruitt's advice. The EPA performs many vital functions, and such budget cuts would hurt its ability to do so.

CFER Founder and President Benji Backer said the following: "The EPA plays a vital role in protecting our nation's wildlife, land, resources, and environment. The next few years are arguably some of the most important when it comes to our nation's environment. With our current energy, resource, and water shortage problems, the EPA couldn't be more necessary. A stripped EPA will cause some of the most crucial parts of our economy and livelihood to be threatened. While there are problems within the agency, we must reform the EPA instead of minimizing it.".