Beveridge & Diamond
 

Henry Diamond Joins Bipartisan Call for Overhaul of U.S. Land and Water Conservation Policies

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. - Press Release, July 9, 2009

The Outdoor Resources Review Group (ORRG) has issued a wide-ranging review of how Americans engage with and value the nation’s land and water resources and related outdoor recreation assets.  The bipartisan group has called for a comprehensive overhaul of programs and policies to safeguard these resources for future generations. 

Henry Diamond co-chaired the ORRG along with Gilbert Grosvenor (chairman of the board of the National Geographic Society) and Patrick Noonan (chairman emeritus of The Conservation Fund).   Mr. Diamond joined Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), who served as honorary co-chairs, in a Capitol Hill briefing to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar earlier this week.

A key proposal in the report, which is flagged for further study, is the development of an independent conservation trust within the federal establishment, with dedicated and substantial funding reaching $5 billion annually.  One potential funding source identified is a percentage of royalties and revenues collected from development of new renewable and conventional energy resources and transmission capacity on public lands and on the outer continental shelf.  The ORRG also recommends full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $3.2 billion a year -- its highest level of authorization adjusted for inflation.

Mr. Diamond has long been a leading voice in the development of federal and state public land policies related to wildlife, parks, forests and open space.  Mr. Diamond served as the lead editor of the landmark 1962 report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) which, under the leadership of Laurance S. Rockefeller, took the first and most comprehensive review of U.S. outdoor recreation and the policies needed to ensure that parks and public lands would be protected for future generations.  The Outdoor Recreation for America report was presented to President John F. Kennedy on January 31, 1962 and is credited with reframing the national debate over conservation to include greater consideration of the public’s outdoor recreational interests and needs.  In 1987, the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors undertook a similar review.

“Henry Diamond continues to shape our nation’s thinking on how we can best protect the public lands, parks and waters that are critical to our economy, personal health and quality of life” observed Benjamin F. Wilson, the Managing Principal at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.  “The firm is honored to see his continued engagement on these important issues now before the new Administration.”

Mackenzie Schoonmaker, an Associate with the Firm assisted with the preparation of the report, on a pro bono basis.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded at http://www.orrgroup.org/ .

Click here for a copy of the press release announcing the public release of the report.