We're on Capitol Hill Spreading the Word: Nature Isn't Partisan

By Cathy Baker
Federal Government Relations Director

There’s no question these are challenging times in our nation’s capital. It sometimes feels like people with differing political views can’t agree on anything. The partisan divide is perhaps deeper than ever before. 

Sea kayakers in Puget Sound, Mount Rainier in the background. Two women paddle off the Nisqually Reach. Photo by Joel Rogers.

But nature shouldn’t be a partisan issue. And we are confident that everyone, regardless of political affiliation, wants a world where people and nature can thrive. With that belief in mind, we look for ways in which we all — Republicans, Democrats and others — can work together to have a positive impact, now and for generations to come. This is how The Nature Conservancy has worked since our founding in 1951: in a nonpartisan, science-based, pragmatic way.

And that’s why we are looking forward to joining staff and trustees from Conservancy chapters around the country and the world for our annual Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., this week. Five Trustees and four staff members from our Washington state office will visit with our members of Congress on Wednesday to discuss Conservancy priorities.

What are the messages we’re bringing to DC?  We support:

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert speaks at a press conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. Photo © Erika Nortemann/TNC

  • A clean, more reliable and low-carbon-energy future. A clean-energy economy is a key step toward addressing climate change, and we promote practical, innovative solutions to create a low-carbon future that is cleaner, healthier and more secure for everyone.
  • Investing in nature to sustain the healthy lands and waters that support resilient communities and dynamic economies. 
  • Permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which supports healthy land, clean water, recreational opportunities and vibrant working landscapes. The president’s proposed budget cuts LWCF by a devastating 84 percent. Fortunately, LWCF is supported by majorities in both the U.S. House and the Senate.
  • A “federal fire funding fix” in the form of the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA), which allows for stable, efficient and responsible wildfire-suppression funding. A bill for WDFA was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives, with several bipartisan co-sponsors from Washington state, including Reps. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Dan Newhouse and Derek Kilmer. 
  • Puget Sound and salmon-recovery funding, supporting innovative, cost-effective projects that are essential for the health of our economy and our communities. The president’s proposed budget eliminates funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Puget Sound geographic program (as well as other similar programs around the country) and zeroes out salmon-recovery funding. 

Nature Conservancy Board Members, Trustees, and staff gather for the 2015 Volunteer Leadership Summit in Washington, DC. Photo © Mike Olliver

Our organization’s history of an inclusive, nonpartisan approach to conservation is one of our greatest strengths. Nature can unite us all, and we’re looking forward to being voices for nature in the halls of Congress next week. 

Follow our Advocacy Day adventures on social media with the hashtags #VoicesForNature and #NatureUnitesUs