2023 POLICY PLATFORM
Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) unifies the voices of small and large companies — and their millions of consumers — across the United States to promote policies and programs that create jobs, invest in recreation infrastructure, expand outdoor access for all, support predictable and balanced trade, and foster a sense of stewardship for our natural resources and our environment. Together, the industry and the millions of current and future voters whose lives are enriched by outdoor recreation represent a shared vision and purpose that bolsters the American economy. We work in a bipartisan fashion with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to help the outdoors thrive.
Federal Government Affairs Priorities
Climate change is already causing disruption and financial harm to outdoor businesses – and the local, state, and national economies that rely on our industry’s job creation and tax revenue. Therefore, we urge Congress and the administration to:
- Protect the climate investments made in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to allow for full implementation of the bill’s goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
- Trailblaze a path for new and innovative climate investments left out of IRA.
- Authorize and fund a Civilian Conservation Corps.
RECREATION AND CONSERVATION
The outdoor recreation economy depends on abundant, safe, and welcoming public lands and waters. The health of individuals, communities, and our economy is tied to opportunities for everyone to experience the benefits of parks, trails, and open spaces. We urge Congress and the administration to:
- Protect core conservation laws and reverse regulatory rollbacks.
- Support America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA), a package of numerous recreation bills, which invests in recreation and green infrastructure to enhance access to public lands.
- Continue to support legislation that bolsters the $862 billion outdoor recreation economy and 4.5 million outdoor recreation jobs in the U.S.
A stable and predictable federal trade policy is critical to helping outdoor companies lower costs, create U.S. jobs, and fuel innovation. Consistent with a balanced trade policy that supports global value chains and domestic manufacturers, we urge Congress and the administration to:
- Renew the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a developing-country trade preference program and include the addition of a select number of non-import sensitive performance footwear.
- Support the passage of a package of miscellaneous tariff bills (MTBs) that will provide temporary duty relief on certain outdoor products and preserve finished products for future MTB rounds.
- Reorient China 301 tariffs away from consumer goods and support a new process to exclude imports from the China 301 tariffs to provide relief for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Support the development of new trade agreements that promote reciprocal market access, sustainability, and robust and enforceable labor and environmental provisions that match international standards.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO THE OUTDOORS
Safe, sustained, close–to–home access to the outdoors and nature is vital to people’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. However, not everyone has access to nature or outdoor experiences on a regular basis, and therefore cannot experience the scientifically–proven benefits
of time outdoors. We urge policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to:
- Prioritize expanding safe access to the outdoors to optimize individual and societal health, economic, and social outcomes.
- Recognize and address barriers to outdoor access, such as time, proximity, financial resources, historical or cultural factors, and discrimination.
- Support the development of green spaces in traditionally nature-deprived communities.
More recently in the farm bill, Congress has started to address the importance of outdoor recreation businesses in America’s rural economies through USDA Rural Development programs. There is a tremendous opportunity in the farm bill being written for passage this year to expand and improve programs that help rural economies better attract and retain outdoor recreation businesses. The full potential of USDA Rural Development programs to build up rural economies through better support for outdoor recreation has only just begun to be explored by the outdoor industry. We support policies that:
- Bolster and grow specific existing grant opportunities under the Rural Development Title VI to further support gateway communities and outdoor recreation economies.
- Grants allow recipients to better manage, expand, and enhance their recreation infrastructure while supporting the development of the outdoor industry by supporting small and medium-sized businesses in rural America.
- Authorize and fully fund a Civilian Climate Corps under the conservation title to initiate the creation of a sustainable workforce focused on implementing nature-based climate solutions.
- Support innovative policies for climate-smart agriculture, including the Growing Climate Solutions Act.
- Require the United States Forest Service (USFS) to develop a 10-year outdoor recreation strategy for national forests under the forestry title.
STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS PRIORITIES
In developing a thoughtful state policy program, OIA can ensure that we are advocating for thriving business, people, and the planet at the local level. Harmonized efforts at the state and federal levels will provide an amplified, unified voice on behalf of the industry across the nation.
- Advocate for the creation and funding of state-based outdoor equity funds and similar outdoor education programs.
- Encourage increased funding for both new recreation infrastructure and maintenance of existing recreational assets across states.
- Execute state-by-state advocacy to encourage governors and lawmakers to prioritize outdoor access when considering options for surplus spending.
OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMY
- Support the creation of new state-based offices of outdoor recreation.
- Continue developing networks and resources to strengthen already-existing offices and directors of outdoor recreation on an individual basis and through the Confluence of States.
- Partner with state-based outdoor business alliances to build their capacity in representing their constituent businesses in outdoor policy advocacy.
- Keep members apprised of pertinent regulatory legislation and policies across the U.S. (e.g., PFAS, green chemistry, and ESG policies), providing opportunity for industry feedback and advocacy on pertinent policies.
- Continue to report on opportunities for local communities and states to utilize federal funding implementation for recreation, conservation, and climate mitigation (e.g., Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Great American Outdoors Act, and Inflation Reduction Act).
- Monitor and influence state climate and sustainability laws that impact the industry, and enable OIA members to participate in state-by-state climate advocacy opportunities.
- Where appropriate, advocate for further electrification, electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, and e-bike infrastructure.
- Amplify OIA members’ voices on policies promoting environmental justice.
- Advocate for the development of new, sustainable mechanisms for conservation funding and also for the renewal of previously dedicated funds.
- Work with relevant national and local partners to engage in state-level advocacy for national monuments and other landscape-scale protections.
- Advocate for state laws and administrative policies that contribute to the overall goals of Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful, which calls to protect 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030.