TRCP at Senate Hearing on Energy Development

TRCP Promotes ‘Precaution, Planning and Investment’ at Senate Hearing on Energy Development
President of sportsmen’s group calls for increased focus on fish and wildlife resources during onshore and offshore development, expanded resources dedicated to conservation.

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

WASHINGTON – -( At a Tuesday hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership will issue recommendations for more balanced and consistent federal management of energy development on federal lands and waters. With heightened attention on renewable energy production and transmission, onshore and offshore, the TRCP and its partners stress that better upfront planning can ensure balanced management of a range of public resources and land and water uses. Both the Senate and the House are weighing the introduction of broad-based energy legislation packages this year.

TRCP President and CEO George Cooper will promote a three-pronged strategy at the hearing that emphasizes “precaution, planning and investment” to sustain fish and wildlife resources and sporting opportunities through the duration of leasing and development projects on public lands and the outer continental shelf. The sportsmen-conservation group maintains that any forthcoming energy legislation should include a fish and wildlife sustainability title.

“Precaution, planning and investment are the over-arching themes of our recommendations,” said Cooper, “and these three areas should be addressed in a new, unified policy applied consistently across onshore and offshore development, whether renewable or nonrenewable. Consistent adherence to these guidelines will assure a sustainable future for our valuable fish and wildlife populations, as well as the continued ability of American citizens to enjoy our nation’s treasured landscapes and seascapes.”

Specific tactics advocated by the TRCP include the preparation of conservation plans prior to leasing, consistent monitoring and enforcement during development, effective mitigation of the negative effects of development and restoration of habitat through the project’s duration. The sportsmen’s group also supports dedicating a percentage of royalties to state and federal entities so that they may efficiently pursue planning before development and multiple-use management of resources during development. The TRCP further stresses that certain special places of exceptional value to fish and wildlife should be subject to no or limited development activity.

“The TRCP and its partners fully appreciate the need to develop our nation’s domestic energy sources expeditiously, but the Department of the Interior needs to adopt a consistent approach to all leasing and development activities – renewable, nonrenewable, onshore, offshore, transmission and transport – that sustains fish and wildlife during development,” Cooper continued. “Companies seeking to develop energy on our public lands and waters stand to gain from our recommended strategy, as it would give them a much higher level of certainty in their planning and investments.”

Two TRCP working groups – the Fish, Wildlife and Energy Working Group and the Marine Conservation Working Group – inform the TRCP’s work on energy issues. Composed of representatives from many of the nation’s leading hunting, fishing and conservation organizations, the groups have compiled recommendations concerning federal management of energy development on public lands and waters known as the FACTS principles and the CAST principles.

“Many unknowns exist regarding the far-reaching impacts of energy development on fish and wildlife, particularly in marine environments,” said Bob Hayes, with the Coastal Conservation Association and co-chair of the TRCP Marine Conservation Working Group. “American sportsmen urge the Senate to thoroughly address regulations covering oil and gas, both on public-lands development and offshore development, in any energy legislation. We can and must ensure the speedy and efficient cultivation of energy resources while simultaneously assuring that our fish and wildlife resources are adequately safeguarded.”

The TRCP has established a record of analyzing and objecting to poorly planned energy development on public lands, a tactic that has provoked decisive responses from the federal government. A new federal policy that consistently and adequately considers fish, wildlife and user-group impacts in advance of development would result in smoother leasing processes. As of now, stakeholders must resort primarily to legal and administrative maneuvering if they want to stave off unnecessarily harmful development. The TRCP, through participation in the Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development coalition, has pushed recommendations aimed at improving federal energy-development protocol.

“Any new energy legislation must deal explicitly with the impacts of development on fish and wildlife,” said Dr. Rollin Sparrowe, acting TRCP board chairman and co-chair of the TRCP Fish, Wildlife and Energy Working Group. “The most recent energy boom in the Rocky Mountain West has been managed inconsistently by the federal government, with neither science nor the multiple-use mandate being adhered to uniformly.”

“Willingness by the federal government to engage in a consistent and balanced approach to such development will engender greater confidence by stakeholders and, consequently, reduce objections and legal actions to which these entities now are forced to resort,” continued Sparrowe. “We must learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them as we proceed to develop our country’s energy resources – onshore and offshore, renewables and nonrenewables – for the good of our shared natural resources and our outdoor traditions.”

The TRCP and its partners believe that to better balance the concerns of fish and wildlife in the face of accelerating energy development, federal land management agencies must follow the conservation tenets outlined in the FACTS for Fish and Wildlife and the CAST principles.

Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.