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There's a lot happening in D.C., that why the ACC has committed to curating the most important content from Capitol Hill. Read the ACC policy newsletter series here to see what bills we're watching, Representatives we're applauding, and news from state houses across the country.
We support bold free-market reforms
Conservative environmentalism follows a long tradition of support spanning from Teddy Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan. We are proud to consider ourselves stewards of the land and supporters of our environment's best interests. We support policies that makes sense at both the state and federal level. As an organization, we look to shape the conversation around the power of the free market.
We advocate for conservative solutions
For too long, these issues have been dominated by one side of the aisle. As an organization, the ACC is prepared to defend and promote the benefits of a conservative environmental policy. Big government reforms have proven to be unsuccessful in many cases. The ACC believes issues need to be addressed at the most appropriate level of government to yield the most effective reforms.
Our positions will continue to expand
To cast the widest net of support across the aisle, we are advocating for simple policy points to start. Moreover, as a newly launched organization, we are still working to finalize deep, expansive policy points as an organization. There are many important issues to consider, and here are a handful of the ones we will devote our attention to first and foremost.
Our View: Energy
Energy plays a vital role in the American economy. Affordable, clean energy is pivotal for the United States as it moves forward into the 21st century. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe increasing the use of renewable energy sources is a priority for America’s energy policies. Nearly half of Americans also believe keeping energy prices low should be a top priority for energy policy.
The United States can strike an appropriate balance between minimizing energy costs and maximizing investment in clean energy by adopting sensible policies that encourage energy innovation. While government should not engage in picking winners and losers in energy, it should take steps toward energy independence by promoting a diverse set of renewable energy options, paving a responsible future for traditional energy sources.
Protecting Public Lands
Our View: America's Protected Lands
In the 101 years since its inception, the National Parks Service (NPS) has provided excitement for Americans nationwide. NPS consists of 410 parks, covering eighty-five million acres in the United States. Each park contains beautiful, natural lands that America should cherish. However, the national park experience that Americans have enjoyed for a century is at risk without the necessary funds to ensure a safe, up-to-date experience for all visitors. Importantly, National Parks provide both jobs and economic stimulus. Nevertheless, many of America’s National Parks are in need of maintenance. It is important for Congress to respond to their requests.
In order to protect America’s natural resources and wildlife, the federal government ought to retain ownership of the majority of its federal lands. Preventing the sale of federal lands to interests contrary to their preservation requires citizens to hold officials accountable at every level of government.
At the same time, the ACC considers educating and updating individuals on possible sales of federal land as one of its primary responsibilities. As we've seen over the past few decades, there are many lands that have been better taken care of under private ownership.
State and Private Land Rights
State parks and forests are some of the most revenue-generating areas in each state. Most of all, state land protects the vital ecosystems and wildlife of our nation. Since America's birth, states have protected land as well as anyone. The ACC will continue to encourage state ownership of land and seek to encourage growth within it.
Our country must embrace incentive-based reforms in regards to private land as well. Over 80% of endangered species rely on private land for their survival and in many cases, private land has been the most effective in protecting our nation's ecosystems.
Two of America’s most important pastimes are conservation and hunting. Indeed, America is home to 40 million hunters and anglers, the vast majority of whom are dedicated to preserving public lands that they might be passed along to future generations. America’s body of sportsmen prove that conservation and hunting are not mutually exclusive practices: eighty-seven percent of hunters and anglers do not want to see cuts to conservation programs.
Hunting in America offers important economic benefits, generating over $67 billion in output and sustaining over one million jobs. Hunting also generates tens of billions in retail sales as well as salaries and wages, sales and income taxes, and revenue for federal and state agencies. As a means to promote community and spur the economy, hunting and fishing rights must be protected.
Rural and Urban Agriculture
Our View: Agriculture
Farming in America has become increasingly modern. A 2015 study by the Department of Agriculture and Purdue University found that an “average of nearly 60,000 high-skilled [agricultural] and related job openings are expected annually in the United States over the next five years,” including water and plant scientists and engineers. The new-look agricultural sector requires similarly innovative policies and practices to spur growth.
These practices include preventing the removal or erosion of valuable topsoil. ACC encourages research and private investment in farming techniques and technologies that control soil erosion, such as contour planting and field windbreaks.
President Ronald Reagan understood the unique position that agriculture enjoys in the fabric of America. In 1982 he referred to America’s agriculturists as, “… the real miracle workers of the modern world—keepers of an incredible system based on faith, freedom, hard work, productivity, and profit—a system that feeds us and sustains millions of the world’s hungry.”
As rural agriculture evolves, innovative farming practices emerge; among the most important is urban agriculture. Across the United States, in cities from Brooklyn to Seattle, urban farming has grown into an economically and environmentally sustainable practice. It reaps a number of benefits, increasing the supply and the variety of food options in urban areas that often lack jobs and reliable sources of food. Urban agriculture is an important new practice that governments on the local, state, and federal level should encourage.
Clean water is Earth’s most essential resource, and the vast majority of American consumers and experts believe water problems are a major issue in the United States. Most Americans feel vulnerable to water crises affecting their communities. Indeed, in the coming century America faces the threat of a clean water crisis, which poses risks to virtually all segments of the country, from farms to cities and communities in between. It is vital for both federal and state governments to craft coherent strategies to handle and prevent future crises by utilizing market-based solutions in technology and innovation.