Southwestern Communities Coalition
As we’ve traveled throughout the great Southwest these last few months, the supporters of the Southwestern Communities Coalition have asked us lots of very good questions about our vision, mission and goals for this Coalition. We’re publishing them in a series of Questions and Answers below. Just “toggle open” each of the Questions to see the Answers. Thank you for your interest in and support of the Southwestern Communities Coalition.
A: The Southwestern Communities Coalition is a diverse group of individuals, businesses, other coalitions and organizations that are all striving to create a better future for the Southwestern United States.
A: The mission of the Southwestern Communities Coalition is to promote thriving communities, sustainable growth, a strong economy, sound stewardship of natural resources and protection of property rights. All of the factors the SWCC is dedicated to promote are interdependent and work together. Thriving communities rely on the sustained growth of a strong economy, judicious stewardship of natural resources and protection of property rights. The continued well-being of the Southwest’s citizens, economy and natural resources depends on healthy communities to sustain them.
A: Many rural communities and even some metropolitan areas of the Southwestern United States have seen their economies stagnate over the past few decades. In these areas, recovery from the recession has been slow, which limits economic opportunities for families and forces talented young adults to leave their families and communities to seek employment elsewhere. The Southwestern Communities Coalition takes this situation very seriously. We are committed to supporting job creation and economic opportunities for communities, individuals and families within the region. Through these efforts we hope to retain more of our younger generations, keeping families together and enhancing life for everyone throughout our communities.
A: Using litigation as a weapon, and driven by an extreme commitment to a radical agenda, fake environmental organizations have placed a stranglehold on many key industries within the Southwest. Industries such as ranching, farming, mining and wine-making, as well as manufacturing, defense and various other private businesses are vital to the economic success of the region as a whole. More importantly, pressure placed on these industries through malicious lawsuits brought by these groups cause real-world harm to families who depend upon them. Such lawsuits often result in family separation, the loss of homes, savings, property values and more. The Southwestern Communities Coalition is working to help our communities push back against these radical groups, and to build strong, stable and sustainable economies which will support families and communities throughout the region.
A: America’s private landowners, especially its working landowners, are best positioned to be stewards of this country’s wildlife because they own most of the habitat, live on the land, are extremely committed to being good stewards, are professional resource managers, and have detailed knowledge of local social networks – which is a key, but often overlooked factor to successful stewardship. These private landowners, including those who lease public land, are the Southwest’s most capable stewards because they engage in actual boots-on-ground conservation that achieves tangible results; most notable owning and leasing land, but also a wide range of actions such as conserving soil, controlling invasive species, planting trees, and enhancing aquatic habitat by constructing water retention structures. The Southwest’s true natural resource stewards should be celebrated and valued as one of this country’s treasures.
A: Despite the value of the Southwest’s true natural resource stewards (working landowners), there are increasingly powerful “astroturf” groups – fake environmentalists – that are bent on impeding private landowners and even driving them off the land through lawsuits. These groups are essentially lawsuit mills, which alienate Southwestern landowners and even drive them off the land by making it impossible to earn a living. The Southwestern Communities Coalition is dedicated to supporting sound stewardship including the Southwest’s true stewards and opposing “astroturf” groups that are doing far more harm than good.
A: A strong economy and healthy environment go hand in hand. If people are economically insecure, then they will see environmental protection as a luxury. When people are economically secure, then they are able to turn their attention to the environment.
A: There are many innovative ideas that combine law, policy and technology to provide solutions to water supply and conservation issues, such as:• Property rights and market-based approaches that would clarify rights to water, permit trading and encourage conservation.
• Defend and reinforce states’ sovereignty over groundwater because states tend to be more flexible and innovative than one-size-fits-all federal policies.
• Make innovations such as water collection and impoundment more feasible by lowering regulatory barriers at the federal level.
• Practical local and state innovations such as recycling water as well as capturing storm water for use in recharging aquifers.
There are myriad other innovative ways to use and conserve water more effectively, but a major impediment is fake environmental groups that try to force their views on others through lawsuits. These organizations would be better served using their annual budgets, which combined total hundreds of millions of dollars, to implement actual water conservation measures. Water use is a difficult, contentious issue only made worse by lawsuits.
A: Property rights support and reinforce human well-being and environmental conservation. Property rights are a cornerstone of healthy communities, economies and sound stewardship of natural resources.
A: Despite the core American value of property rights, fake environmental groups are bent on destroying property rights through lawsuits. These groups are waging a war of attrition that will sadly do enormous harm to the environment and stewardship of natural resources. America’s true stewards are private, working landowners who own more than 1.2 billion acres of farms, ranches and forests. Making life more difficult for working landowners — and even putting them out of business — does incredible harm to property rights as well as the social and ecological fabric of this country. If these groups were serious about protecting the environment, they would welcome the use of property rights to acquire land and water. The Southwestern Communities Coalition stands shoulder to shoulder with true stewards of natural resources, with homeowners, and with all those who want to protect their property rights from infringement by fake environmental groups.