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Groups Urge Conservation to Bridge Partisan Divide

Conservationists are hoping Democrats and Republicans will reflect on the nation's natural resources as a way to move beyond partisan divides. (Pixabay)
Conservationists are hoping Democrats and Republicans will reflect on the nation's natural resources as a way to move beyond partisan divides. (Pixabay)
November 14, 2016

DENVER – With the 2016 presidential election now over, conservationists are hoping common ground can be found to safeguard the nation's natural resources in Colorado and across the country.

David Ellenberger, Rocky Mountain regional outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, says protecting lands owned by all Americans isn't a Democratic or Republican issue.

"Conservation – clean air, clean water, wildlife – is a really popular issue in Colorado,” he points out. “And that cuts across both parties and really brings people together around a common goal."

Ellenberger says the recent political campaign showed strong broad based support, regardless of party affiliation, for keeping public lands in public hands.

However, groups working to transfer publicly owned lands to states – part of the GOP's national platform – say they now have a president more inclined to support their efforts.

National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara says success stories such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act prove that a strong environment can also bring economic benefits.

He sees opportunities for both parties to work together to fight wildfires that threaten hunting, fishing and other activities that local economies depend on.

"We're seeing massive forest fires, tens of millions of acres going up into smoke,” he points out. “Releasing a lot of emissions and reducing recreational opportunities, polluting streams, affecting wildlife. That's one area where there's very bipartisan solutions."

O'Mara says ultimately, natural resource issues are American issues, and hopes conversations around conservation can help bridge what is currently a wide partisan divide.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO