Conservationists Honor Washington Rep. Norm Dicks

(09/06/2001) - WASHINGTON – Representative Norman D. Dicks (Wash., 6th District) achieved his high point in a notable legislative record on environmental protection when he led the way last year in enacting historic conservation funding legislation, according to Defenders of Wildlife and other groups that honored Dicks today at a Washington, D.C. ceremony. Dicks’ efforts established a huge new conservation trust that sets aside $12 billion over six years for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF), and other important conservation programs, including ones to aid endangered species and other declining wildlife, fight urban sprawl, preserve forest land, protect coasts, and promote historic preservation.

"People across the country need to understand just how important this initiative is, and how many ‘firsts’ it sets. The new Land, Conservation, Preservation and Infrastructure Improvement fund marks the first time conservation has had a dedicated budget – one of the few other similar funding mechanisms is the dedicated Highway Trust Fund – and it infuses billions of new dollars into the pressing work of conservation," noted Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. "It’s no exaggeration to say that this legislation is a singular monument to Norm  Dicks’ skill and persistence."

Schlickeisen presented Rep. Dicks with his organization’s highest award. The plaque, mounted on a handsomely framed photograph by world- renowned wildlife photographer Jim Brandenburg, reads: "In recognition of his decisive leadership in guiding into law the first dedicated conservation fund in U.S. history, Defenders of Wildlife presents this Conservation Award of Excellence to U.S. Representative Norm D. Dicks with great admiration and gratitude."

Other environmental organizations and individuals that worked with Rep. Dicks in support of the legislation joined in praising his efforts. "All Americans who care about the environment owe a huge debt of gratitude to Norm Dicks for his leadership on conservation funding legislation," said John Adams, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Land, Conservation, Preservation, and Infrastructure Improvement (LCPII) fund was a compromise struck at the end of last year that represented more than two years of work by congressional supporters, the White House, and thousands of conservation, environmental, preservation, and recreation interests, as well as numerous state and local governments.

Congressman Dicks played the central role in crafting legislation that built on President Clinton’s Lands Legacy Initiative and the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA), when it became apparent that CARA would not come to the Senate floor before the end of the 106th Congress.

"The Clinton administration pushed hard for major new conservation funding legislation but got nowhere until Norm Dicks took it on as a personal cause," said George Frampton, former chairman of the president's Council on Environmental Quality. "The result is the best conservation funding law enacted in decades -- perhaps ever. And it wouldn't have happened without Norm's leadership."

"Norm’s record as an environmental leader reached its pinnacle in the FY01Interior Appropriations bill with the historic Land Conservation, Preservation and Infrastructure Improvement Fund agreement," according to Bill Meadows, president of The Wilderness Society. "In addition, he has been our go-to-guy, a veritable warrior, in battling anti-environmental riders and derailing or defeating efforts to undermine the status of our natural resources. The Wilderness Society is extremely thankful for Norm’s consistent hard work and dedication."

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Defenders of Wildlife is a leading non-profit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 470,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues.

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Contact(s):

Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270