Congressmen Moran, Miller and Holt awarded for conservation leadership

Left to right, Reps. George Miller, Jim Moran and Rush Holt accept awards for their conservation leadership.  

As part of Great Outdoors America Week (GO Week), The Wilderness Society is celebrating the conservation achievements of three members of Congress: Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ), George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Moran (D-VA).

GO Week 2014 drew to a close with a ceremony on Capitol Hill honoring three conservation champions who are preparing to retire from Congress with the Great Outdoors Week Lifetime Achievement Award. Though the states they represent are geographically disparate, these three lawmakers share a common cause: protecting America’s great natural heritage and working to make it accessible to all people. Each received a plaque featuring a cherished wildland in their home state.

The honorees:

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Boasting an impressive science background (he is trained as a research physicist), it is only fitting that Rep. Rush Holt acutely understands modern conservation challenges (and that he be honored as such).

Indeed, in addition to supporting legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions and encourage renewable energy, Rep. Holt has co-sponsored a bill to prevent new oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and secured funding to preserve open space and recreation areas.

Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has also advocated for reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In January 2014, along with more than 100 other House members, he signed a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell urging the protection of natural and historic landmarks under the Antiquities Act. In New Jersey, he has worked to protect the Sourlands and the Delaware Water Gap, and led the effort to have the lower Delaware River designated as a “wild and scenic river.”

In honor of his commitment to environmental stewardship, Rep. Holt received a plaque featuring a photo of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, an extraordinary natural oasis within 30 miles of Manhattan.

Rep. George Miller (D-CA)

Rep. George Miller has been a leader on conservation for nearly 40 years in the House of Representatives (and on the Natural Resources Committee to boot). Among his public lands protection bona fides: supporting legislation to create Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks; supporting legislation to expand the Ansel Adams Wilderness; and increasing protection for parts of Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks.

Additionally, Rep. Miller has pushed for the U.S. to address climate change and worked against reckless oil and gas drilling in places that are too wild to drill. His work as a tireless champion for the land will be sorely missed.

Rep. Miller’s lifetime achievement award featured a photo of Redwood National Park, a site of many childhood adventures and reminder of the many incredible natural gems in his home state.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)

Elected to represent Virginia’s eighth congressional district nearly 25 years ago, Rep. Jim Moran will retire at the end of 2014 with a long track record of conservation and public lands advocacy.

Rep. Moran’s leadership in the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee was vital to making sure conservation gets the funding it needs, and he has consistently supported the Land and Water Conservation Fund to that end, always acting with an eye toward the care and preservation of our shared spaces.

On a local level, Rep. Moran has brought outdoor recreation opportunities and new funding to places like Prince William Forest Park, Dyke Marsh, and Mason Neck, in addition to supporting trail maintenance throughout Northern Virginia.

Rep. Moran’s award featured Virginia’s Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, a rare freshwater tidal wetland and favorite birding spot in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.