Non-profit

ConservAmerica

Website:

www.conservamerica.org

Location:

STURGIS, MI

Tax ID:

36-4112938

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $304,824
Expenses: $673,753
Assets: $121,082

Formation:

1995

Type:

Environmental Advocacy Nonprofit

President:

Rob Sisson

Chairwoman:

Nan Hayworth

ConservAmerica is a right-leaning environmentalist advocacy organization that advocates for conservationist policies and promotes the idea that conservatism and environmentalism are compatible. The group was founded in 1995 under the name Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship (CRS), formally “Rep Environmental Education Foundation,” is the 501(c)(3) fundraising and research arm of ConservAmerica.

Background

ConservAmerica is a right-leaning environmental group that says it backs more market-based solutions to environmental challenges. The organization began in 1995 under the name Republicans for Environmental Protection. [1]

It called for the GOP to maintain its connection to the legacy of Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, who made environmental conservation a priority and federalized large swaths of land across the United States. [2]

Martha Marks was a co-founder and served as the first president of what was then called REP America, which produced a newsletter called the “Green Elephant.” [3] Marks had previously been an elected Republican on the Lake County, Illinois Board and Forest Preserve Board. She served as president until 2008. [4]

The name change came in 2012 when the organization decided it wanted to be less partisan and appeal to more conservative independents, but still draw a direct connection between conservatism and conservation. The organization still said it wanted to ensure that conservation and the environment are “fundamental elements” of the Republican Party. [5]

The organization’s website now refers to itself as a “nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and advancement of sound environmental and conservation policy.” [6]

At the time of the name change, the organization’s vice president David Jenkins said: “We’re seeing more and more independents out there. Messaging through a Republican frame doesn’t reach those people as well as reaching them through a conservative frame.” [7]

The website emphasizes President Ronald Reagan’s comment that passing natural resources to the next generation is “our great moral responsibility.” The website currently focuses less on Theodore Roosevelt. The organization says market-based solutions are “preferable to government regulations and mandates.” [8]

Policies

ConservAmerica president, Rob Sisson, has said the group prefers to focus on less divisive matters, such as clean air and clean water, than climate change. The organization aligned with traditional Republican stance in advocating for the Keystone XL pipeline. The group argued that the safest way to transport oil from tar sands is the pipeline without which the Canadians would extract and transport the oil in another less-safe way. [9]

The group has opposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which was long backed by a Republican officeholders. [10] The organization also wants to see natural gas extraction regulated under the Clean Water Act and opposes transferring federal lands to the states. [11]

ConservAmerica further advocates for increasing access to public lands, such and national wildlife refuges and national forests for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation; and promoting more public-private partnerships that would include easements and land exchanges to increase access to public lands. [12]

The organization stated in 2017 that it did not support a carbon tax. However, Sisson said in 2012, “Let’s not tax things we want more of, like income. Do a carbon tax and then you send the money back to taxpayers.” [13]

Sisson has also framed conservation in a pro-life context and has cited Pope Francis’ view on climate change. He told Catholic.org in a 2013 interview: “So many people struggle with the inconsistency of a movement that calls itself pro-life, but does not care about the 600,000 babies born in the U.S. each year with unsafe levels of mercury in their systems, or the human suffering in other parts of the world caused by a changing climate.” [14]

Congressional Caucus

The organization gained attention in 2019 after congressional Republicans established a bicameral [Teddy] Roosevelt Conservation Caucus. Sisson told Bloomberg News that one of the caucus’s key issues would be resolving the $12 billion maintenance backlog at national parks. Sisson helped assemble the caucus. [15]

The Republican conservation caucus came about in part to counter the radical Green New Deal proposal to effect a government takeover of much of the economy. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado are the Senate co-founders, while GOP Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York and Brian Mast of Florida founded it in the House of Representatives.

“The concept of a Republican conservation caucus has percolated for several years,” said ConservAmerica Chairwoman Nan Hayworth. Hayworth credited ConservAmerica board members Andrew Sabin and Trammell S. Crow  and the American Conservation Coalition, an advocacy group for ostensibly right-leaning environmentalism, with helping to organize lawmakers. [16]

Sabin and Crow heralded Congress for passing and President Donald Trump for signing a “once-in-a-generation public lands bill,” the Natural Resources Management Act, that passed with overwhelming GOP support. Sabin and Crow wrote in an op-ed in March 2019: “Republican support for the package and the creation of the new caucus should finally put to rest the false narrative — pushed, unfortunately, by groups on the left that purport to support environmental protection — that Republicans don’t care about the environment, conservation or public lands. Poppycock.” [17]

Sabin and Crow further wrote that other environmental groups “morphed into progressive political campaigns.” They added, “Conservation at its core reflects the fundamental conservative principles of the right to life, liberty and property, and freedom from the restrictions of arbitrary force.” [18]

References

  1. Restuccia, Andrew. “Republicans for Environmental Protection Rebrands.” The Hill. April 2, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/219507-republicans-for-environmental-protection-rebrands ^
  2. James, Frank. “Green GOP Group Caught Between ‘Rock and a Hard Place.’” NPR. April 22, 2014. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2014/04/22/305957364/green-gop-group-caught-between-rock-and-a-hard-place ^
  3. Marks, Martha. “Republicans for Environmental Protection Need Not be an Oxymoron.” The Grist. May 13, 2003. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://grist.org/article/greening/ ^
  4. Board of Directors and Staff Leadership. Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship. Accessed July 14, 2019. http://www.conservativestewards.org/leadership/ ^
  5. Restuccia, Andrew. “Republicans for Environmental Protection Rebrands.” The Hill. April 2, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/219507-republicans-for-environmental-protection-rebrands ^
  6. Values. ConservAmerica. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.conservamerica.org/values ^
  7. King, Bob. “Green Group Grabs New Name.” Politico. April 2, 2012. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2012/04/gop-green-group-drops-republicans-from-name-074745 ^
  8. Values. ConservAmerica. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.conservamerica.org/values ^
  9. James, Frank. “Green GOP Group Caught Between ‘Rock and a Hard Place.’” NPR. April 22, 2014. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2014/04/22/305957364/green-gop-group-caught-between-rock-and-a-hard-place ^
  10. King, Bob. “Green Group Grabs New Name.” Politico. April 2, 2012. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2012/04/gop-green-group-drops-republicans-from-name-074745 ^
  11. Barringer, Felicity. “Q&A: Back to the Future with Environmental Bipartisanship.” The New York Times. October 22, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/q-and-a-back-to-the-future-with-environmental-bipartisanship/#more-149767 ^
  12. Priorities. ConservAmerica. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.conservamerica.org/priorities ^
  13. Tarr, Joe. “RNC Attendee Bucks GOP’s Anti-Environmental Stance With ConservAmerica.” Isthmus. August 30, 2012. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://isthmus.com/news/news/rnc-attendee-bucks-gops-anti-environmental-stance-with-conservamerica/ ^
  14. Connolly, Marsha. “Exclusive Interview- Global Warming is a Conservative Issue.” Catholic Online. March 25, 2013. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://www.catholic.org/news/green/story.php?id=50264 ^
  15. Lee, Stephen. “Republican Conservation Caucus Touts Environmental Efforts.” Bloomberg Environment. March 1, 2019. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/environment-and-energy/republican-conservation-caucus-touts-environmental-efforts ^
  16. Siciliano, John. “Republicans Launch New Caucus to Counteract the Green New Deal.” Washington Examiner. March 1, 2019. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/republicans-launch-new-caucus-to-counteract-the-green-new-deal ^
  17. Sabin, Andrew and Crow Trammell. “Conservation Remains a Core Conservative Principle.” The Hill. March 25, 2019. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/435615-conservation-remains-a-core-conservative-principle ^
  18. Sabin, Andrew and Crow Trammell. “Conservation Remains a Core Conservative Principle.” The Hill. March 25, 2019. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/435615-conservation-remains-a-core-conservative-principle ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Paul Vogelheim
    Officer/Board Member
  2. Scott MacCurdy
    Officer/Board Member
  3. Jimmy Glotfelty
    Officer/Board Member
  4. Trammell S. Crow
    Officer/Board Member
  5. Tina Beattie
    Officer/Board Member
  6. Rob Sisson
    Officer/Board Member
  7. Nan Hayworth
    Officer/Board Member
  8. Paul Walker
    Employee
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 1997

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $304,824 $673,753 $121,082 $3,851 N $304,150 $0 $51 $103,958 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,201,477 $789,039 $501,894 $15,734 N $1,200,837 $0 $3 $376,458
    2015 Dec Form 990 $52,390 $159,335 $77,090 $3,331 N $52,131 $0 $259 $80,500 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $813,187 $694,291 $183,492 $2,770 N $813,073 $0 $6 $60,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $133,023 $89,820 $62,330 $467 $0 $0 $0 $0
    2012 Dec Form 990 $236,354 $249,988 $19,902 $1,242 N $155,107 $75,588 $37 $72,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990EZ $0 $0 $430 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    ConservAmerica

    971 S CENTERVILLE RD
    STURGIS, MI 49091-2502