Election Day Results Bring Challenges and Opportunities for Conservation

Voters Support Billions for Land and Water, Nation Needs to Continue Progress on Climate Change

Arlington, VA | November 13, 2016

On Election Day, Donald Trump won the election to become the next President of the United States, and voters returned Republican majorities to Congress. Voters also overwhelmingly supported land and water conservation in state and local ballot measures, dedicating over $4.4 billion for conservation and adopting important new policies that benefit natural resources. 

“Despite what was a very divisive campaign, the election results did not signal a retreat from the commitment to protect our natural resources,” said Lynn Scarlett, Managing Director of Public Policy at The Nature Conservancy. “This commitment was underscored by the many successful ballot initiatives focused on conservation. We will continue to work with partners, the new Administration and Congress to advance conservation to benefit people and nature. Protecting and sustaining a healthy environment is essential to our communities and our economy everywhere and across the political spectrum.

“Pundits have highlighted a division in sentiment between urban and rural voters. But it is not a division on the importance of conserving our natural resources. The Nature Conservancy became the largest conservation organization in the world by working with thousands of farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in rural areas and with urban communities across the country to preserve our natural heritage. These communities see the many benefits that nature provides, from clean water, to clean air, to protection from storms—benefits that show how conservation can move us beyond some divisions that this election revealed. We see continuing opportunities to invest in nature-based solutions along coasts to enhance coastal safety, in cities to manage stormwater, and with farmers to improve soil health that will bring economic and environmental benefits.

“The central challenge to people and places around the globe is climate change. The costs of inaction are high, and smart solutions can propel economic opportunity, innovation, and greater energy reliability—goals that everyone can embrace.”

"The central challenge to people and places around the globe is climate change. The Obama Administration was a principal force in advancing the 2015 Paris climate change agreement that has 186 nations promising detailed plans to reduce global warming emissions. We hope that the new president will give global warming a fresh look and join states, hundreds of cities, the thousands of American businesses and the millions of American citizens who are committed to the international effort to address climate change. The costs of inaction are high, and smart solutions can propel economic opportunity, innovation, and greater energy reliability—goals that all Americans embrace.

Successful ballot measures included those providing funding for land acquisition, water quality, parks and trails, as well as policy-related measures. Conservation highlights included:

  • Multiple counties in California passed ballot measures dedicating billions of dollars to land and water protection;
  • Five towns in Suffolk County, New York voted to dedicate $2 billion to protect land and water;
  • Voters in Missouri renewed a statewide sales tax that will dedicate $800 million to water, parks and soil conservation.

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The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Heather Layman
Director of U.S. Policy Communications


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