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Maura Bennett Western Lands Coalition Sends Congress a Message
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: October 11, 2017

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

Leslie’s Allen with Western Lands Alliance spearheaded the effort and says the polarization and political rhetoric doesn’t make for good policy.

“There are major decisions coming up whether it’s the Endangered Species Act, other environmental laws, how we manage our public lands, federal budgets, how we are going to invest in our communities. We’d like to create a vision for what’s possible for what we want collectively, rather than what each different group doesn’t want.”

130 organizations joined Western Landowners Alliance to lay out 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” lead to sound conservation practices.

The sixth principle asserts 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.

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