iStock-598239544.jpg

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 5, 20173min665

A coalition of Western lands advocates announced it has written Congress and the White House, urging them to “advance policies that encourage rural economic health and a productive agricultural sector, while simultaneously conserving natural resources and the landscapes in which Westerners live and work.”

The group of some 130 organizations led by the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Western Landowners Alliance enunciated six principles in its letter that should serve as the “cornerstone” of federal policies. Those principles include that  “large-scale resource planning be coordinated across boundaries, inclusive, place-based and informed by science,” and that “voluntary, market- and incentive-based programs” foster sound conservation practices.

The upshot of the principles — spelled out in the sixth principle — is that, “Hope for rural America lies in collaboration, common sense and non-partisan solutions that ensure sustainable working lands and diverse new economies.”

One of the takeaways for the federal government seems to be that it’s more productive to reach out to landowners on conservation and other resources issues — than to regulate or legislate them into submission. In other words, work together rather than lock horns.

Western Landowners Alliance Executive Director Lesli Allison is quoted in the coalition’s announcement:

“Often led by ranchers and farmers, place-based collaboration has evolved over the past several decades as a successful way to resolve long-standing conflicts over resource use. While there will always be issues on which we disagree, it is not the issues themselves that define our communities and our future, but the way in which we engage on them together.”

Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition and Partners for Conservation are jointly leading the initiative along with the alliance. Signing onto the letter are 130 diverse groups ranging from the American Forest Foundation to the Wyoming Grazing Board.


Tipton-Mug.jpg

Scott TiptonScott TiptonFebruary 13, 20175min378
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

We recently held our organizational meeting in the Natural Resources Committee, which gave members an opportunity to discuss their priorities for the next two years and vote on committee rules and procedures.

Since arriving in Congress, much of my focus has been on the many natural resources issues that impact the Third Congressional District on a daily basis. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop has a deep understanding of these issues, and I am looking forward to working with him to get some of our district’s priorities over the finish line.

These priorities include bills like the Water Rights Protection Act, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act, and the Planning for American Energy Act, which are all bills I am looking forward to re-introducing in the 115th Congress.

Water policy is a critical issue for the state of Colorado. The farming and ranching community, the ski industry and countless others rely on Colorado’s precious water for their livelihoods. In the 114th Congress, I fought the federal government’s attempts to circumvent state water law with the Water Rights Protection Act. Language from the bill passed the House three times last Congress, and I am hopeful that we’ll see the bill signed into law in the next year.

The bark beetle epidemic has destroyed over 2.9 million acres in Colorado and put our forests at high risk for catastrophic wildfires. We must do more to actively manage and protect our forests. I was pleased that language from my bill, the Healthy Forest Management and Wildfire Prevention Act, passed the House as part of the Resilient Federal Forests Act last Congress. This bill passed the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry in September 2016, but unfortunately, it was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote before the session ended. I am hopeful we will see this bill signed into law during the 115th Congress, so the state of Colorado will be able to better protect its communities from devastating wildfires on National Forest System lands.

We’re blessed in Colorado to have abundant natural resources, open spaces and scenic beauty. In the Third District, our energy portfolio includes traditional energy resources like natural gas, oil and clean coal, as well as renewable sources like wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal energy. I firmly believe that we must implement an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which I outlined in the Planning for American Energy Act. This bill has passed the House twice, and I am looking forward to working on policies to advance responsible domestic energy production as a member of the Subcommittee on Mineral and Energy Resources.

As Chairman Bishop said during our organizational meeting, over the next few months our focus will be on analyzing and developing infrastructure proposals that fall within the committee’s jurisdiction and lowering the regulatory burden that so many of our families, small businesses and communities face.

We have important work in front of us, and I hope to hear from you along the way. Please don’t hesitate to share your feedback, thoughts or concerns with me and my team. You can write to us through my website, www.tipton.house.gov, or call us at any of our offices.