It has been a quiet few weeks of mostly prep work for the Mountain Pact. There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to how the new administration will address the climate and other environmental issues such as energy development and public land protections. To be ready for upcoming campaigns the Mountain Pact has taken this time to research the results of local elections across the Intermountain West.
The Mountain Pact works directly with mountain towns on environmental issues, so it is imperative that we remain up to date on the governing bodies in those mountain towns. Over the last week, I have spent time researching local election results. This includes identifying any newly elected mayors or city council members
Along with this I will begin to update key contacts for the towns that we have worked closely with on campaigns in the past. This will make outreach a smoother process in the future. Another key piece of this prep work will be to update the populations and number of visitors to each town. This provides concrete numbers to use in campaign letters when citing the number of people that may be affected by certain policy actions.
Although it has been quiet in terms of campaign work it has been interesting and informative to be working on these preparatory measures. It is not always concrete forward campaign action. But when it is, successful action comes from proper preparation. Also, while doing this research I have been able to gather a better understanding of the huge importance of local governments. Being actively involved in local government is an important way to make an impact in the political system.
I have also continued to manage the social media pages during this time. This has been an enjoyable learning opportunity. On the Mountain Pact’s social media pages we post climate change articles from a variety of sources. Searching through many articles to choose which ones to post has been a great way for me to be up to date and informed on climate change topics.
The end of November news highlights included the passing of the Outdoor REC Act in both the House and Senate chambers. This bipartisan bill is now on the way to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. This will require the secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture, and Interior to work with the Bureau of Economic Analysis to examine the economic impact of the outdoor recreation industry on the GDP. This is a major step forward for the recreation and conservation industry because this industry is inextricably linked to public lands and waters making the case for investments in effective conservation and management of public lands to ensure the economic power house remains steady.
The world of environmental policy is constantly changing. Working in this field for the first time has so far been a wonderfully eye-opening experience and I am looking forward to future actions as the current environmental policy sphere continues to unfold.