Webinar: Thriving People + Planet — Confronting Threats to the Outdoors

Lise Aangeenbrug – Executive Director, Outdoor Industry Association
Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) – Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands

Key Takeaways:

1. For the outdoors to thrive, it must be open and accessible to all.

2. The American Jobs Plan is a historic opportunity to make a difference on climate – now is the time for the outdoor industry to step up and urge Congress to act.

3. A Civilian Climate Corps will provide jobs and economic growth AND combat climate change and conserve green spaces for generations to come.

4. As outdoor climate policy priorities take center stage, your business voice matters.

Webinar: 2021 Threats to the West and the Best Policies to Address Them

Speakers: Dave Metz, Partner and President, FM3 Research
Lori Weigel, Principal, New Bridge Strategy

The 11th annual Conservation in the West survey sponsored by Colorado College’s State of the Rockies Project is the most comprehensive view of Western-state voters’ attitudes about conservation issues and challenges. In years past, the survey has focused on issues such as state control of public lands, water rights and wildfire. The 2021 survey has a heavy focus on climate change and how lands and waters can affect that crisis. Our panel of pollsters will highlight findings from this year’s report, key distinctions among different racial/ethnic sub-groups within this region and how current or future federal and state policies can address conservation issues.


Presenters: Amy Horton, Outdoor Industry Association; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, (D-RI)

Description: Climate change threatens the outdoor experience that our industry depends on. While our businesses invest in ambitious carbon reduction and removals in our operations and supply chains, we must also step up to advocate, engage our consumers and enable broader system change through effective policy at all levels of government. Recent legislative and administrative action brings hope, but narrower margins in both the House and Senate impart cautious optimism. In this session, long-time climate champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse reveals his optimism for what can get done this Congress and why now is a critical time for outdoor businesses to show up. This discussion will both inspire and provide practical insight on what federal legislative action is possible, what it will take and how the outdoor business voice can play a key role.

  • Welcome, intros and summary of outdoor industry climate policy priorities, Amy Horton, Outdoor Industry Association
  • Long-time climate champion Senator Sheldon Whitehouse shares his prospects and strategies for climate policy progress and suggestions for how the outdoor business community can be a helpful partner.
  • Q&A from OIA members and partners


Presenters: George Cooper, Forbes-Tate; Rich Harper, Outdoor Industry Association; Taldi Harrison, REI; Amy Horton, Outdoor Industry Association; Mike Ratchford, W.L. Gore & Associates; Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.); Jeannie Renne-Malone, VF Corporation

Description: The 2020 general election was one of the most consequential in U.S. history for the outdoor recreation economy. And outdoor voters responded in record numbers in support of all aspects of our policy priorities. With a new administration and Congress, we now have the opportunity to build on the success of the Great American Outdoors Act and help tackle climate change, protect our public lands and waters, expand access to the outdoors for all Americans and help our industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic with new investments in green infrastructure and close-to-home recreation and a balanced trade agenda. Join us for an exciting conversation on what lies ahead for the outdoor recreation economy and how we can play a meaningful role.


Presenters: Lise Aangeenbrug, Outdoor Industry Association; Raina Thiele, Thiele Strategies; Maite Arce, Hispanic Access Foundation; Whit Fosburgh, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Azul; Hans Cole, Patagonia

Description: Join us to find out more about 30 by 30 for People & Planet — an effort to protect at least 30 percent of America’s land and ocean area by 2030. Embraced by national and global thought leaders, the movement is likely to get more attention under a Biden administration. We’ve invited panelists with diverse perspectives — outdoor recreation advocates, sportsmen, tribal leaders and equity in the outdoors experts — to discuss how we can work together to simultaneously and symbiotically support public and private land conservation traditions in the U.S., address climate change, honor the sovereignty of tribal nations and ensure equitable access for current and future generations.


Presenters: Bret Estep, Tenaska Renewable Energy Advisory Services; Michael Sadowski, Advisor to OIA; Sue Long, Sustainability Initiative Manger, REI

Description: Green Tariffs. REC. PPA. What does it all mean? If your company wants to source renewable energy in the United States but finds the landscape of acronyms and complex terminology dizzying, join this 101 session and let us cut through the clutter to bring you the need-to-know basics.


Presenters: Amy Horton, Outdoor Industry Association; Geraldine Link, National Ski Areas Association; Chris Steinkamp, Snowsports Industries America; Representative John Curtis (R-UT); Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO); Brendan McGuire, Vail Resorts

Description: The new administration has the most progressive climate agenda of any administration in U.S. history. There are lots of exciting changes in store, but also lots of hard work from all of us to make the most out of this opportunity to tackle this existential threat. Join us to learn more about the outlook and opportunities for progress at the federal level and how the winter outdoor industry can play a lead role in advancing federal climate policy in the new administration and 117th Congress.

An Interior Secretary the American People Deserve

Outdoor recreation is a cornerstone of American life that relies on the health and wellbeing of the environment. Widespread access to public lands and waters is critical to maintaining and expanding the many benefits of outdoor recreation. As more and more Americans find refuge outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, recreation can be a big piece of the economic recovery puzzle.

Americans of all ages and the outdoor industry keenly understand this – as does President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Debra Haaland. With her stellar track record on public lands and waters, climate change, and environmental justice, the Senate would do well to swiftly confirm her nomination.

Secretary-designate Haaland will marry outdoor policy with this potential for economic growth. Throughout her career and during her time in Congress, she has demonstrated a sharp understanding of the impact of the $788 billion outdoor recreation economy and the benefit it has to communities. She led the charge on the Simplifying Outdoor Access for Recreation (SOAR) Act, a bill to cut bureaucratic red tape that prevents Americans from accessing outdoor spaces. She also supported the historic and broadly bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) last session, which provided much-needed funding for public lands and waters. In talking about this bill, she highlighted the close connection between environmental policy and economic recovery, saying “spending time outdoors…creates jobs in the outdoor recreation and restoration economies, but without proper federal funding, the parks, rodeo grounds, and National Parks…are vulnerable, as are the jobs that go along with them.”

In addition to increasing access to public spaces, the conservation and protection of the outdoors is of critical importance. 30×30 – the goal of conserving 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030 – is a top policy priority for the outdoor industry and for Haaland, too. As an industry that works closely with the Department of the Interior, it’s encouraging to see that she understands the massive opportunity to fight climate change and protect access, all while conserving public lands and waters. The outdoor industry will gladly work with her agency to develop a cohesive public and private sector action plan.

Addressing climate change is also a top priority for the entire outdoor industry. Businesses that operate in outdoor recreation have been feeling the impact of climate change for years and intimately understand the need for an aggressive, coordinated effort to address the crisis. With Deb Haaland at the helm of Interior, we believe progress can be made while leveraging the outdoor recreation economy as one part of the solution to support the traditional energy communities that will be affected by these changes. In her time in the House of Representatives, she cosponsored the Ocean Based Climate Solutions Act and introduced the Climate Stewardship Act, both of which worked to mitigate climate change by promoting natural climate solutions to keep the planet healthy. She also promised to “continue to push for natural climate solutions” going forward.

To effectively address the growing threat from climate change and protect the environment, we need everyone from Democrats and Republicans in Congress to Fortune 500 companies to park rangers to work together. Secretary-designate Haaland has a history of working across the aisle – she’s gotten more Republicans to sign on to her bills than any other Democrat in the House of Representatives. Her proven willingness to work in a bipartisan manner will be a boon for the outdoors, which after all are enjoyed by Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life.

The American people deserve an Interior Secretary that will fight for all of us. From conservation to economic recovery to climate change, Deb Haaland understands the broad impacts of decisions made by the Department of the Interior. For the good of the environment, the economy, and the people, the Senate should quickly vote to confirm her so she can get to work.

Election 2020 Outcome Outlook

This article was published Thursday, Nov. 5. For updates as of Nov. 10 and a deeper dive into these insights, watch our Post-Election Analysis webinar.

At the time of publication, the Associated Press has declared a presidential victor in all but a handful of states, leaving pivotal Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania up in the air. A few key Senate seats, including two in Georgia and one in North Carolina and more than 30 House seats, are also too close to call. But with help from our D.C.-based consultants at Forbes Tate Partners, we’ve gamed out the various potential scenarios to explore what the White House and Congress could look like, who are likely to be key players on our issues, what can we expect between now and inauguration and how the outcomes might influence our work moving forward.



The House of Representatives

Democrats Poised to Hold the House, But Republicans Gain More Seats Than Expected

What Does This Mean: Democrats will retain control of the House but fell well short of expectations to pick up between 10 and 15 seats. In fact, Republicans may still gain some seats, narrowing the Democratic majority. While we believe the House will remain active on climate issues in the new Congress, it’s possible that, combined with Republicans likely retaining the Senate, Democrats might temper their ambitions when it comes to putting together a climate package. Likewise, while we could see additional protections for public lands and waters, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will have to be mindful of what she brings to the floor given her possible reduced majority. On trade, the House will likely continue to prioritize labor and environmental protections in any trade deals, as well as—for the first time—binding climate provisions.

While we believe the House will remain active on climate issues in the new Congress, it’s possible that, combined with Republicans likely retaining the Senate, Democrats might temper their ambitions when it comes to putting together a climate package. Likewise, while we could see additional protections for public lands and waters, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will have to be mindful of what she brings to the floor given her possible reduced majority.

The Senate

Republicans Likely to Hold Senate

What Does This Mean: While control of the Senate is still officially undecided, it is likely that Republicans will retain control. One or both of the Senate races in Georgia could go to a run-off in January, and the Republican candidate would be favored in both races. Democrats picked up seats previously held by Republicans in Arizona and Colorado, while Republicans flipped Alabama. As we saw with the Great American Outdoors Act, we could still see movement on recreation and conservation issues with a Republican Senate, though it will be tougher to pass more robust climate initiatives. Passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) suggests that a Democratic House and Republican Senate could work together on international trade issues.

As we saw with the Great American Outdoors Act, we could still see movement on recreation conservation issues with a Republican Senate, though it will be tougher to pass more robust climate initiatives. Passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) suggests that a Democratic House and Republican Senate could work together on international trade issues.

The White House:

Biden Has a Clearer Path to Victory

What Does This Mean:  While the race has not yet been officially called (though that could happen as soon as today), indications are that Biden will win the presidency by successfully flipping Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Aggressive action on climate will remain a top priority for his administration, but if Republicans maintain control of the Senate, Democrats will likely set aside more ambitious plans. The Great American Outdoors Act shows how Republicans and Democrats can work together on conservation issues and additional public lands and waters protections. On trade, Biden will prioritize “Made in America” and a more multilateral approach to trade disputes, relying on dialogue and negotiation rather than punitive tariffs. That being said, China Section 301 tariffs are likely to remain for the foreseeable future. Biden and the Democratic House will push Senate Republicans on strong labor and environmental and climate provisions in any new trade deals, using USMCA as a model.


The Cabinet

New Faces Likely, Whoever Wins

What Does This Mean: Obviously, with a Biden presidency, we will see new leadership at Interior, Commerce, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and other agencies, with dramatically different priorities on issues affecting the outdoors and the outdoor industry. Should Biden win, his nominees for those positions will be released over the next several weeks. With a Republican-controlled Senate, he may be compelled to send over more moderate nominees.

The Key Committees and Chairs

Republicans have term limits on their chairs. Democrats do not, and they appoint committee chairs and ranking members based on seniority.

House Natural Resources

  • Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) retains the chairmanship.
  • OIA will have a great opportunity to work with Chairman Grijalva on conservation, streamlining the permitting process, promoting diversity in the outdoors, implementing the Great American Outdoors Act and combating climate change.

House Ways & Means

  • Richard Neal (D-MA) will remain chairman.
  • OIA anticipates that one of our key outdoor champions, Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), will continue as chair of the trade subcommittee and work with us on our balanced trade agenda.

Senate Energy & Natural Resources

  • Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) will likely take over from Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who is term-limited. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is ranking member.
  • The outdoor community worked closely with Senator Manchin on passing the Great American Outdoors Act. Senator Barrasso helped lead the effort to pass America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.

Senate Environment & Public Works

  • Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is the likely incoming chair, with Senator Barrasso (R-WY) moving over to Energy and Natural Resources.
  • Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) a longtime friend of the industry on climate and public lands and is ranking member.

Senate Finance

  • If Republicans maintain control, the gavel could pass to Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), as the current chair, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), is term-limited. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will continue as ranking member.
  • Senator Wyden is a longtime supporter of the outdoor industry and has led several initiatives in the past consistent with our balanced trade agenda, including the U.S. OUTDOOR Act. Senator Crapo, in fact, was also a lead sponsor of the OUTDOOR Act and worked closely with outdoor companies on miscellaneous tariff bills and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

Prospects for a Lame Duck

We have seen early signals that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Pelosi will push for a Covid-relief package in the lame duck session, in addition to an omnibus spending bill to keep the government open through the end of the fiscal year. It is unclear, however, if an outgoing President Trump will have any interest in working with congressional leadership on either issue. It is possible that Congress could pass a short-term spending bill and consider the broader spending bill and Covid relief when the new Congress is sworn in in January.

Webinar: Post-Election Analysis – The Impact of the 2020 Elections on the Outdoor Industry

Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director at Outdoor Industry Association
George Cooper, Partner at Forbes Tate Partners
Rich Harper, Director of Government Affairs at Outdoor Industry Association
Doug Usher, Ph.D., Partner of Polling and Insights at Forbes Tate Partners

Summary: Our industry’s top priorities are on the ballot in this year’s election—from climate change and public lands to outdoor access, international trade and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how federal and state election results will shape the outdoor recreation economy for years to come—and how you can prepare your business for what’s next. Join us for a timely post-election analysis as we:

  • Recap election results, examine voting data and share takeaways to inform our advocacy efforts going forward
  • Analyze how the election outcomes will impact the outdoor recreation economy and explore how the results will influence outdoor industry priorities in the future
  • Explain how outdoor industry leaders can guide their businesses to succeed in a post-election environment
  • Share opportunities to advocate for critical outdoor industry issues at both the federal and state level