NWF Hosts 2015 Wildlife Conservation Briefing with Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

On January 3, 2015 the 114th Congress was sworn in – and with it came an incredible opportunity to make 2015 a year of conservation victories for wildlife. That’s why we got together last night by phone with over 150 of National Wildlife Federation activists and leaders from across the country for a 2015 Wildlife Conservation Briefing!

River otter, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
A river otter swims through a canal in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, FL. Photo by Sara Lopez.
Just a few days into the new Congressional session, a series of bills and amendments were introduced to undermine conservation and threaten wildlife. At the same time, President Obama has the opportunity to finalize one set of historic new rules that reduce pollution from power plants and another that would safeguard millions of acres of wetlands and streams vital for river otters, migratory birds and waterfowl.

We knobtn-Listen-Green_200x36w that what we do at the National Wildlife Federation to advocate for critical conservation protections makes a huge difference in Congress. Congresswoman Kuster (D-NH) explains in this clip why taking action, reaching out to our representatives and fighting for our conservation values is more important than ever in 2015.

Clean Air

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is taking unprecedented steps to reduce carbon pollution, combat climate change and protect people and wildlife. The plan has set carbon limits for old and new power plants, taken steps to reduce methane leakage and has begun making landmark agreements with foreign nations to reduce carbon. And all of this is being done using longstanding authorities undbtn-Listen-Green_200x36er the Clean Air Act. Listen, as CEO Collin O’Mara explains how we need to work together to protect these important actions as Congress tries to derail them.

Congress has started its session by voting on the swift approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline has long been opposed by NWF because of its climate impacts, and because of its potential impacts to wildlife, ecosystems and the Ogallala aquifer. However, even as we saw this attack on the environment move forward, Congress also voted on several amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill that garnered unprecedented bi-partisan support for the scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that humans are having a significant impact.

Clean Water

As this new Congress unfolds, the health and safety of our streams and wetlands, lakes, rivers, and bays hang in the balance. Most immediately, next week, on February 4th Congress will hold a rare joint House-Senate hearing to attack the Clean Water Rule – a critically important EPA initiative that will clarify and restore Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetland acres and stream miles, and the drinking water supplies of 1 in 3 Americans.

This important rule clarifies and restores longstanding protections for headwater streams and wetlands that feed our drinking water supplies and play an important role in fishing, hunting, and the future of our outdoor economy. Additionally, the proposed rule gives much-needed certainty to farmers, land owners, and businesses, saving them time and money. Without this rule, confusion over which waters are protectedbtn-Listen-Green_200x36 under the Clean Water Act would continue. Listen, as Collin O’Mara talks about the Toledo algal blooms that happened just a few months ago and why it’s so important that we take action to protect clean water for people and wildlife.

Our Public Lands

Supporters of making Colorado's Brown Canyon a national monument hope that President Obama will approve a designation. Photo courtesy of Friends of Browns Canyon.
Supporters of making Colorado’s Brown Canyon a national monument hope that President Obama will approve a designation. Photo courtesy of Friends of Browns Canyon.
The Arctic Wildlife Refuge is a spectacular ecosystem and home to some of the nation’s most iconic wildlife. Unfortunately, the 114th Congress is likely to push for drilling in the refuge instead of protecting it. Now, we have an opportunity to fight back and support President Obama’s proposed new management plan that calls on Congress to protect this special place.

The President also has the opportunity to protect places like Brown’s Canyon in Colorado or Boulder White Clouds in Idaho by establishing them as National Monuments under the Antiquities Act (first used by President Theodore Roosevelt to establish the Grand Canyon as a national monument.) Unfortunately, Congress is looking to attack or eliminate the President’s ability to designate national monuments under the Act.

Hear from CEbtn-Listen-Green_200x36O Collin O’Mara about why we need to fight back against these anti-conservation bills.

Take Action

If one thing is clear from last night’s Wildlife Conservation Briefing, it’s that we are going to need your help this year to protect wildlife and habitat and fight for conservation victories!

Here are three ways that you can take action today!

1. Urge your Senators to vote to support the Clean Power Plan. We will face all to many attacks in the coming year, and will need rapid responses to members of Congress telling them that Americans like you want to see action on climate and clean energy

2. Please call, email, tweet, and post on your member of congress’ facebook pages your own version of this basic clean water message: “The proposed Clean Water Rule is a critical priority for hunters, anglers, nature lovers, fish, and wildlife in (state). We urge Senator/Representative _____ to #ProtectCleanWater and express support for the Clean Water Rule.”

3. Please send a message to President Obama thanking him for his actions to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and urging him to use his authority to protect additional public lands, including Browns Canyon.