NWF Letter on Cabinet Nomination Hearings

January 17, 2017

Dear Senator:

The National Wildlife Federation, with our 6 million members and supporters, along with independent state Affiliate organizations together represent a broad diversity of political affinities that mirror that of the nation. Yet we are united in the cause of wildlife conservation. We also represent millions of Americans who enjoy sustainable and responsible outdoor recreation including: hunting, fishing, camping, birding, wildlife watching, hiking, climbing, swimming, boating, and gardening, and other family and educational activities.
Over the past fifty years, as much as half of the world’s wildlife has disappeared, while in the United States one-third of our native species are at elevated risk of extinction. Thousands of our species, including birds, pollinators, fish, amphibians, reptiles and small mammals, have suffered significant population losses since 1970. While decades of conservation efforts and investments have resulted in significant conservation achievements, the pressure and trends on overall wildlife populations must be recognized and confronted by our governing leaders.

As the Senate begins its review and confirmation of the new Administration’s cabinet nominees, we will hope and expect to see nominees demonstrate an understanding and commitment to these basic conservation principles:

Sound science must be the basis for making natural resource policy and management practices; and investment in natural resource/conservation science research must continue.
Overall investments in wildlife conservation must be increased to help counter population declines and pressures on the Endangered Species Act, while helping to grow jobs and the more than 646 billion dollar outdoor economy.
Public ownership and management of America’s 600 million acres of public lands and forests that for generations have been the inherited legacy of all Americans must be protected and preserved so that they can provide essential habitat systems for wildlife, provide public access for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation, and support the economy by generating billions of dollars and millions of jobs.
Development activities on public lands, particularly for energy purposes, must be carefully managed to protect the most fragile and important conservation areas.
Wildlife is not livestock and must be managed by wildlife professionals and held in public trust for all Americans
National protections and investments must be ensured and enhanced for the nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and coastal and marine waters for fish, wildlife, and human communities, particularly for fragile and minimally protected water resources, as well as America’s great water treasures such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Everglades, Mississippi River, and Delaware River.
Conservation on private land and working landscapes (such as agricultural lands) plays an essential role in supporting healthy fish and wildlife populations and providing and connecting their habitat.
Climate change is real, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced, and wildlife habitat and communities must be managed to be more resilient to the changes already taking place.
The Administration must embrace the economic growth and public benefits of moving the nation to cleaner energy sources and investments in energy efficiency.
The Administration must respect the intent and authorities of keystone environmental protection laws such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Antiquities Act, and others that have served as global models for protecting people, communities, and wildlife.
We encourage the Senate to raise these important issues with the nominees to ensure there is a clear record of their positions on conservation. Thank you.

National Wildlife Federation                                Arizona Wildlife Federation
Arkansas Wildlife Federation                              Association of Northwest Steelheaders (Oregon)
Audubon Society of New Hampshire                  Colorado Wildlife Federation
Conservation Coalition of Oklahoma                  Conservation Council for Hawai'i
Conservation Federation of Missouri                  Conservation Northwest
Delaware Nature Society                                   Earth Conservation Corps
Environmental League of Massachusetts           Florida Wildlife Federation
Idaho Wildlife Federation                                   Indiana Wildlife Federation
Iowa Wildlife Federation                                     Kansas Wildlife Federation
Kentucky Waterways Alliance                             Louisiana Wildlife Federation
Michigan United Conservation Clubs                  Minnesota Conservation Federation
Mississippi Wildlife Federation                             Montana Wildlife Federation
Nebraska Wildlife Federation                              Nevada Wildlife Federation
New Mexico Wildlife Federation                          North Carolina Wildlife Federation
North Dakota Wildlife Federation                        Planning and Conservation League (California)
Prairie Rivers Network (Illinois)                           Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña Inc. (Puerto Rico)
South Carolina Wildlife Federation                      South Dakota Wildlife Federation
The National Aquarium (Maryland)                      Virgin Islands Conservation Society
Wyoming Wildlife Federation

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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