RMEF President and CEO Kyle Weaver, immediate past Board Chair Chuck Roady and Government Affairs Director Mark Lambrecht recently returned from a whirlwind tour through the nation’s capital the first week of September to promote key conservation projects and advocacy issues.
The group visited with Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and key staff for Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND). Roberts, Stabenow, Hoeven, and Westerman are all members of the farm bill conference committee. Sen. Cantwell is the ranking minority member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee while Sen. Barrasso chairs the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. RMEF provided scientific arguments for including forest management reforms in the farm bill, including measures to enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife and limit frivolous litigation against land management projects. Weaver, Roady and Lambrecht also described recent and planned RMEF conservation projects and pushed for reauthorization and increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, funding for chronic wasting disease research and management, potential changes to the Endangered Species Act to facilitate de-listing of recovered species and strategies to protect public access to public lands.
Lawmakers are busy negotiating reauthorization of the farm bill and the Land and Water Conservation Fund—both of which expire September 30. Congress must also pass next year’s budget this fall or a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.
RMEF’s team had an opportunity to visit with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation banquet where they talked about RMEF’s interests in forest management reforms. Additional meetings with Administration officials during the week included Jim Hubbard, recently confirmed as USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources & the Environment, for a farm bill discussion, Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt about wildlife migration corridors and RMEF’s BLM projects and Interim Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen about RMEF’s Forest Service projects.
(Photo information: RMEF President/CEO Kyle Weaver, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue and former RMEF Board Chair Chuck Roady. Second photo: Roady, Weaver, Sen. Maria Cantwell and RMEF Director of Government Affairs Mark Lambrecht)