Veterans are cheering the Senate 92-7 vote for a clean NDAA that will not jeopardize critical conservation plans that include protections for the Greater Sage-Grouse.
Anti-conservation provisions would have undercut the incredible collaborative process by federal agencies, state agencies, private land owners, and other western partners to conserve wildlife habitat. But an unprecedented strategy brought bi-partisan stakeholders throughout the west to create a science based strategy that was the largest conservation effort in U.S. history.
Nevada veteran Pamela Alfred said, “These plans were specifically designed to conserve areas with minimal potential for energy development and allow businesses to develop other areas where there is an economically-viable potential for energy development. The plans provide energy developers with the certainty to plan for future development. They reflect a conscious effort by the BLM and Forest Service to manage lands that belong to all Americans in a manner that leaves them in better shape than they are today, all while strengthening our western economy and outdoor way of life.”
Despite letters released by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Readiness, Army, Navy, and Air Force stating the sage-grouse plans do not impede the nation’s military operations, readiness and training, members of congress continued to push for the harmful riders to be included in the bill. These delays slowed the passing of the immense authorization.
A poll released by Vet Voice Foundation in April of 2016 showed that a majority of western voters opposed the use of the NDAA to stop the sage-grouse conservation plans from being implemented. The poll also found that 63% of voters favored the Department of Interiors sage-grouse land management plans.
Vet Voice Foundation also ran an ad campaign highlighting the attacks on iconic western lands as shameful use of politicizing this important bill that our military requires to ensures our service members get the proper equipment and training they depend on to succeed in their mission to defend the country.