A group called Republicans for Environmental Protection (REP) just had their national conference in our fair town. Given the nature of GOP policies over the last, say, 27 years, the name sounds oxymoronic, perhaps an intentional obfuscation. But I've followed this group for many years, and they do appear to be legitimate--pathetically ineffective, perhaps, but legitimate.
The REP website proclaims that this conference is "Truly... our most exciting conference ever!"
The Express-News reports that at this most exciting conference, the keynote speaker, GOP pollster Whit Ayres, spoke to "crowd of about 70, including about a dozen Texans."
That reveals a lot about the current standing of conservation in the party of Theodore Roosevelt.
REP's website lists the awards they have given out since their founding in 1996. Amongst these awards in one called the "Environmental Legislator of the Year," presumably limited to Republicans. Here are the winners:
1996 - Rep. Christopher Shays, CT
1998 - Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, NY (now retired)
2000 - Sen. Jim Jeffords, VT (later become an Independent allied with Democrats; now retired)
2002 - Rep. Nancy Johnson, CT (defeated by a Democrat in 2006
2004 - Rep. Jim Greenwood, PA (now retired)
I guess they gave up after 2004, because I don't see any such award since then. Rep. Shays is the lone survivor, and he is hanging by a thread.
"Conservation, stewardship, those are very bedrock conservative issues," said David Jenkins, the group's governmental affairs director. "The party has gotten away from that some."