outdoor advocacy update 004: sen. lee kills public lands package–because, bears ears.

Let’s just dive right in:

Well, the public lands package is dead. It’s that big set of bills I’ve been hyped on, that includes LWCF permanent reauthorization, Recreation Not Red Tape, the Emery County Bill that’s close to home for me, the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act, and many other important and powerful outdoor-related bills.

Yesterday was a rollercoaster in Congress. At the beginning of the day, it looked like there way no way it would pass–and then, suddenly, members started objecting. They demanded including the public lands package in the CR. Sen. Cory Gardner got fired up, along with a bipartisan cohort of Senators Cantwell, Daines and Murkowski who all went to bat for the outdoor community, debating for nearly an hour (a big deal for public lands to get that much floor time in a big Congressional moment like this).

And then, Senator Lee happened. He refused to let the public lands package be included–because, Bears Ears. Yes, that’s right. He was hung up on making sure that no new national monuments will ever be added to the state of Utah, and that’s what killed this opportunity. (Yes, I am ashamed to be his constituent here in Salt Lake City. Yes, he will be getting an earful of verbal coal from me for his Christmas gift.)

So, what next? The good news is, everyone–besides Lee–is fired up on pushing this package across the finish line by whatever means necessary. Chairman Murkowski is on record saying that it’s going to pass early in the new year, and it’s looking like that could happen as early as January or February. So, not all is lost.

Want to watch it all go down on C-SPAN (oh, you really are an outdoor policy geek)? Here you go:

What I’m Reading:

  • This article about a federal appeals court in Virginia that “has thrown out a power company’s permit to build a natural gas pipeline across two national forests and the Appalachian Trail – and slammed the U.S. Forest Service for granting the approvals in the first place.” And they quoted the Lorax about it.
  • This wild idea from Politico about running a unity ticket in the 2020 Presidential election. Biden/Romney 2020? Sounded like an interesting idea until I read someone tweet about a Biden/Beto ticket. *drools*
  • REI published a great piece explaining why the Farm Bill (see last week’s outdoor advocacy update) is important to everyone from outdoorists and ranchers to low-income families.

In conclusion for 2018:

This has been a hard, in-between, burnt out transition year for me. As so many other’s also did, I struggled at times to keep the stoke alive. There were major highlights, like the success of the #VoteTheOutdoors campaign and the Outdoor Advocate Network–but overall, I’d call this year a big, fat meh.

The last week of Congressional happenings, planning for 2019 campaigns, signing new contracts with old and new advocacy clients, and reviving my business plan has the spark reignited. I am ready to kick ass in 2019, y’all–and I hope you are too. 

Got any advocacy stories I oughta know about? Send ’em my way for the next edition of this outdoor advocacy update! Header image by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash!

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