ACC Turns 2!
For far too long, conservatives have felt left out of environmental conversations. With the left clinging to alarmist rhetoric, many on the right – despite being adamantly pro-environment – chose to disengage from these issues and treat matters such as climate change as an afterthought.
On this day two years ago, the all too familiar narrative began to change with the founding of the American Conservation Coalition. Our organization made tremendous strides in its first year of existence, but this second orbit around the sun has been filled with even greater accomplishments. With a team as strong as any, ACC is fulfilling its mission to change the narrative and provide conservatives with a voice on the environment.
The past year at ACC has been marked by widespread achievements, whether on college campuses or in the halls of Congress. Our organization’s commitments to campus activism, legislative efforts, policy formulation, and more are paying off and ensuring that we reach all corners of the country.
The American Conservation Coalition grew in a big way in the past year by launching its biggest project yet: ACC Campus (ACCC). ACCC is helping to bring our free-market, limited government environmental message to college campuses across the country and engage the best and brightest young conservative minds on these issues. Since formally launching in November, ACC Campus has already gained presence on more than 130 college campuses.
Beyond engaging college conservatives, the campus program played an instrumental role in facilitating projects like Clean Up America, where ACC team members and supporters cleaned up nearly 600 pounds of trash in just one day. With such rapid growth and success, ACC Campus is destined to affect positive change in the free market environmental movement for years to come.
While the campus program has proven enormously successful, ACC also champions the free market environmental message at important events and conferences throughout the United States and even abroad! ACC team members have attended and spoken at CPAC, YALCons, FreedomFest, FEECon, the Audubon National Convention, and EarthX, where we hosted the inaugural 30 Under 30 event and paid tribute to young environmental leaders.
Outsiders have had a difficult time not noticing ACC’s impressive growth and string of accomplishments. More than three million Twitter users interacted with our recent #WhyIConserve campaign and ACC team members have had op-eds picked up by major publications such as The Hill, Townhall, The Washington Examiner, and more. Adding to this, ACC President Benji Backer was recognized as part of the Grist 50 and GreenBiz 30 Under 30 for his conservative leadership on environmental issues.
Beyond the conferences and media hits, perhaps ACC’s greatest accomplishment is its involvement in achieving legislative victories and transforming the way many conservatives think about the environment. Just last month, several of our team members traveled to the White House for the Trump administration’s reception on America’s environmental leadership, an event ACC helped organize. ACC also played a key role in organizing the recently formed Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which includes a group of Congressional Republicans who are ready to push for limited government environmental reforms.
When we created ACC two years ago, we had ambitious goals and dreams of making a massive impact. We’ve been able to make that impact in a much shorter time than anyone anticipated, and we’re truly leading the movement for common-sense environmental solutions. The future of the environmental movement consists of bipartisan, limited government, and conservative leaders/reforms. Thanks to ACC, that’s happening far sooner than anyone could have dreamed of. I am so proud of ACC and our team of staff, volunteers, advisors, and donors who have made our organization an overwhelming success. Here’s to many more years! - Benji Backer, ACC Founder & President
Conservative environmentalism is gaining momentum, and the American Conservation Coalition is at the forefront of the movement. Elected Republicans at the state and federal level are beginning to prioritize environmental issues thanks in large part to our organization’s efforts. ACC’s activism in South Carolina contributed to the state’s passing of the Energy Freedom Act, a law that now promotes open energy markets. Our WildernessNOW campaign helped to generate traction for a host of public lands and conservation bills that eventually became part of the Natural Resources Management Act, a bill that permanently reauthorized the Land Water Conservation Fund and was signed into law earlier this year.
This week may have been ACC’s most successful one yet. ACC Campus brought 50+ college students from all over the United States to Washington D.C. to partake in our annual fly-in event. These students, along with several ACC team members, spent the week promoting an all-of-the-above energy approach to members of Congress and administration officials.
This recap of the past year at ACC only scratches the surface of what our organization has been able to achieve. Transforming into the nation’s premier right-of-center environmental organization would not have been possible without such an incredible team. ACC team members spanning all across the country put in countless hours each day to ensure that a free market environmental message reaches the highest levels of government and widest audience. The past two years could not have been better for ACC, but our team intends to aim for even higher heights in the future!