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Cooperation Needed to Protect Public Lands, Wildlife

Conservation groups are calling for bipartisan cooperation and action to preserve public lands and wildlife. (Jerry Oster)
Conservation groups are calling for bipartisan cooperation and action to preserve public lands and wildlife. (Jerry Oster)
November 14, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Conservation groups are speaking out now that the election is over, calling for bipartisan action on issues affecting the environment, in South Dakota and across the country.

Lew Carpenter, a regional representative with the National Wildlife Federation, said his organization sees public land and its diverse wildlife as this country's heritage and legacy, and that protecting them is something all sides can get behind.

"Conservation remains an overarching issue, and it has the potential to bring people from all parties and ideologies together,” Carpenter said. "I think we all look forward to supporting wildlife and clean water, and clean air, and we need to work across both sides of the aisle."

He said he'd like to see a continued emphasis on keeping public lands open and accessible for pursuits like hunting, fishing, hiking and bird-watching that also benefit local economies.

National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara said he hopes the new administration recognizes the benefits of clean energy and a vibrant outdoor economy - and that these priorities can coexist.

"The gains that have been made in this country because of things like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act are the envy of the world,” O’Mara said. "Americans have seen health outcomes go up at the same time we've seen GDP go up. We've proven that we can have a strong environment and a healthy economy at the same time."

O'Mara said he thinks there’s potential for both parties to work together - for example, on better practices to fight wildfires so they don't choke the air with smoke as often, and on reevaluating the ethanol mandate, which he said has led to a significant reduction in grasslands, wetlands and forests.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD