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OIA in D.C. Notes From The Hill: July 2022

By Rich Harper, Director of Government Affairs

This past month saw a flurry of action in Washington with major policy wins for the outdoor industry, particularly on climate change. The historic Inflation Reduction Act – and its $369 billion in new funding for climate solutions – was passed by Congress and is now heading to President Biden’s desk for his signature Senate. Additionally, the Biden administration’s investment revived the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), which will bolster the outdoor industry and the U.S. economy.

Applauding Historic Congressional Climate Action

Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a historic opportunity to turn the tide on climate change and strengthen local economies. In a statement, OIA celebrated this milestone – and the bill’s $369 billion in new funding for climate solutions and infrastructure – as it marks a key inflection point in this country’s fight against climate change. OIA also commends members of Congress and the many OIA members who tirelessly fought and advocated to see this bill become a reality.

This action was particularly meaningful as last month, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on West Virginia vs. EPA eliminated the government’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, undermining the Biden administration’s goal to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030. OIA released a statement on the court’s ruling calling on Congress to take action to advance climate policies that prioritize our air, lands, and climate change.

Reestablishing the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation

The Biden Administration continues to support the outdoor recreation industry with the launch of the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), an effort to create more affordable and equitable outdoor recreation opportunities.

Rich Harper, OIA’s Director of Government Affairs was invited to the White House for the official launch and Lise Aangeenbrug, OIA’s executive director, released a statement highlighting the importance of these efforts in revitalizing our outdoor infrastructure. Establishing a system of clear communication between key leaders of land and water management agencies is imperative to advance this mutual goal. As more and more people are participating in outdoor recreation than ever before, and extreme weather events are taking their toll on many fragile outdoor infrastructure systems, it is imperative that federal agencies can properly coordinate and allocate the necessary investments to meet this challenge.

Celebrating Leadership on the Outdoor Recreation Act

Over the past two years, Americans’ renewed appreciation for the great outdoors proved that the benefits of a strong outdoor recreation industry reach far beyond the economic implications. As many have come to appreciate our nation’s natural beauty, it is important we ensure everyone has access to these lands and the tremendous benefits they provide. The America’s Outdoor Recreation Act will improve, protect, and provide additional access to the state’s wonders while supporting the important economic contributions that come from the outdoor recreation industry.

This past month, OIA recognized the exemplary leadership of two congressional leaders, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Steve Daines, for their support of the bill and their efforts to preserve the natural beauty and outdoor industries in Alaska and Montana. Two separate op-eds were written and published in their home states thanking these policymakers for their support of this historic legislation. You can find Lise’s op-ed with the executive director of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance in support of Sen. Murkowski here and her op-ed for Sen. Daines here.

Making the Case Against Punitive Tariffs on Outdoor Products

OIA Director of Government Affairs Rich Harper delivered his testimony on the economic impact of sections 232 and 301 and tariffs on U.S. industries. Maintaining tariffs on these products will only continue to negatively impact domestic employment, economic growth, and consumer product offerings that promote healthy and safe activities in the great outdoors. OIA supports a “balanced trade policy” that calls for the elimination of tariffs on outdoor products where there is no viable domestic production and supports policies to help our Made in USA members compete in the global economy.

Addressing West Coast Port Labor Negotiations

As the West Coast Port Labor contract expired, OIA also signed a letter to President Biden asking the administration to find a new agreement without any disruption to port operations. The letter asks the administration to extend the current contract until negotiations are over to ensure stability for supply chain stakeholders.