Society for Range Management update

What We’re Watching:

Last week, SRM provided public comments to Deputy Under Secretary Scott Hutchins of the Research, Education, and Economics (REE) mission area. Stakeholders were invited to provide comments on:

What changes can REE make to best serve its customers? What is REE doing well? What can REE improve upon?

What can REE do to ensure we are working toward Secretary Perdue’s mission to ensure we are the most effective, most efficient, and most customer-focused department in the federal government?

What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that REE should address?

Several members of SRM’s Policy and Public Affairs Committee and Board of Directors worked expeditiously to pull our collective thoughts and comments into one cohesive document.

Following the success of this particular meeting, SRM strongly encourages other agencies within the Department of Agriculture and other Department of Interior to host similar stakeholder opportunities.

Next week, we look forward to providing testimony in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. We will also be speaking at the USDA’s Farm Bill implementation listening session. Both of these events will occur on Tuesday, February 26th. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for up-to-the-minute updates and to follow along.

On the Horizon:

Earlier this year, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) rolled out a 14-page, nonbinding resolution calling for a “10-year national mobilization” to bring the U.S. to a goal of net zero carbon emissions.

(If you haven’t had the opportunity to read through the resolution, find it HERE.)

The resolution is bold – and vague. But, if you’ve been reading the headlines, then the bill did exactly what its creators intended: it opened a national conversation on climate change.

Next week, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will put that conversation to the test by holding a vote on the resolution.

In a statement to reporters, McConnell said, “I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate to give everybody an opportunity to go on record.”

Minority Leader Charles Schumer countered by saying that Democrats would not be intimated by this “cynical stunt” and noted the “amazing irony” of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bringing up a resolution Republicans intend to vote against as a sign of why the American people hate Congress.

Many moderate Democrats have already voiced opposition to the Green New Deal.

Asked if he’d vote for the resolution, a chuckling Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) told The Hill before the Presidents Day recess: “Probably not.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow told a crowd that she was not ready to support the bill in its current form because, “…I think a little more time, a little more communication, a little more input from a wider variety of folks on language would have made a difference.”

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was a bit more upfront in his response: “The Green New Deal is a dream, it’s not a deal. It’s a dream. And that’s fine. People should have dreams in the perfect world what they’d like to see. I’ve got to work in realities and I’ve got to work in the practical, what I have in front of me.”

No vote has been officially set, but most on Capitol Hill believe the Majority Leader is looking for a date as soon as next week.

Hearings Scheduled:

February 27: The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will host a hearing titled The “45th Anniversary of the Native American Programs Act and the establishment of the Administration for Native Americans.” More information HERE.

February 27: The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, “Hearing to Examine S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, and the State of Current Technologies that Reduce, Capture, and Use Carbon Dioxide.” More information HERE.

February 27: House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota announced a full Committee hearing with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on “The State of the Rural Economy.” More information HERE.

February 28: Senate Agriculture Committee invited Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for a full Committee hearing on Implementing the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

–Society for Range Management