Bush Officials, Environmental Defense Fund Join in Appeal to Conservatives

By Tapscott, Mark | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, January 8, 2013 | Go to article overview

Bush Officials, Environmental Defense Fund Join in Appeal to Conservatives


Tapscott, Mark, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Former environmental officials from President George W. Bush's administration gather today on Capitol Hill in an effort financed by the Environmental Defense Fund to cultivate support for "conservation programs, practices and policies centered on conservative and libertarian philosophic perspectives."

Heading the effort known as the Conservation Leadership Council are former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, former Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer and Jim Connaughton, former director of the White House Council on Environmental Policy.

Others from the Bush administration working with the CLC include Ambassador Paula Dobrianski, who was Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs, former Associate White House Political Director Coddy Johnson, and Lynn Scarlett, former Deputy Secretary of Interior.

The council is hosting a panel and luncheon conference today at the Reserve Officers Association's Top of the Hill Conference Center Tuesday where it is expected to make public six academic papers selected from more than two dozen submitted that "are likely to spark the kind of conversation we're looking for," said Toni Kriendler, an EDF spokesman.

One of the papers - authored by Leonard Gilroy, Harris Kenny and Julian Morris of the libertarian Reason Foundation - advocates greater use of public-private partnerships to operate state parks.

"Many states already successfully use private concessionaires to provide piecemeal services within parks--including food, retail, lodging, marinas, and other commercial activities--so a shift to more extensive involvement can build on that," the Reason trio wrote.

"Such a whole park operation PPP would transfer the responsibility of maintaining the park to a private operator, while enabling that operator to raise revenue through entrance and other fees," they said.

Kiendler declined to say how much EDF has budgeted for the project, saying only that "EDF was fortunate to raise an initial investment in the six-figure range from donors committed to establishing CLC as an independent entity."

The EDF received more than $94 million in contributions and grants in 2011, including $2.4 million in government grants, according to its IRS Form 990. …

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