Here at IWF’s Center for Energy and Conservation, we’re drafting our New Year’s resolutions. 

2024 is poised to be a busy year for energy and conservation issues. Opposition continues to build against the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement. Clean energy projects–especially onshore and offshore wind–aren’t getting off the ground, despite being boosted by “Inflation Reduction Act” subsidies. Our reliance on conventional energy sources–coal, oil, and natural gas – has remained consistent. And conservation funding from hunting and angling activities is expected to top last year’s $1.6 billion haul. 

Here are three of the center’s top resolutions for 2024: 

Prioritizing Energy Safety

Energy safety should be top of mind for Americans all four seasons. 

Powering homes, efficiently fueling cars, and maintaining grid stability aren’t unreasonable goals; they’ve been standard practice up until recently. 

New Department of Energy rulemaking aimed at improving energy efficiency standards would cost an additional $9,000 in yearly expenses for the average household. New dishwashers would use less water (from 5 to 3.2 gallons) yet require more washing cycles. 

Electric vehicle (EV) mandates could endanger commercial and regular drivers this winter and beyond. As I noted in a recent Unicorn Fact Check, EV batteries are inferior to gas-powered equivalents: 

“An EV’s battery drains faster in cold weather in order to heat up the battery and car’s interior. Unlike gas-powered cars, which use coolant to heat cabins, EVs use energy from electric coils or heat pumps to mimic this action.”

Personal EV trucks require multiple stops to charge and only have, at best, a 200 to 300 mile range. Food security is potentially at risk if diesel semi-truck fleets are converted to electric, as is the case playing out in California today. The Wall Street Journal reports one trucker’s daunting ordeal, writing, “A diesel semi can fuel up in 15 minutes and then drive 1,000 miles—a round trip from Los Angeles to Reno, Nev.—before needing to refuel. Making the same trip, Mr. Ramos’s electric truck would have to make six recharging stops of at least 90 minutes each.” 

Grid stability could be jeopardized if the federal government and states push for net-zero policies that favor intermittent, volatile renewable energy sources over more reliable conventional sources. Even California admits to curtailing solar energy due to increased congestion- or when transmission lines fail to deliver electricity generated by so-called renewables.

Antiquities Act Reforms

It’s long overdue for Congress to seriously reform the Antiquities Act of 1906 to ensure public lands remain open and accessible to all users–not just environmentalists who favor President Biden’s agenda. 

Activities that must be preserved included but aren’t limited to: mining, grazing, ranching, farming, fishing, hunting, guiding, camping, hiking, and ATV/OTVing.

A new amicus brief filed by the Congressional Western Caucus might force action to limit and clarify presidential authority under Section II of the law. The law states presidents have authority to create, enlarge, and even shrink monuments, but such is limited to declaration of sites “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” 

This is timely as President Biden begins eyeing more public land areas to designate as national monuments. Since being sworn into office in 2021, President Biden has created five new sites from existing federal lands and permanently protected over 24 million acres from multiple-uses—with half, or 12.3 million, receiving protection in 2023 alone.

Frequent National Park-like land grabs are antithetical to America’s conservation ethos and are intended to keep the public out. 

Expanding Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on Public Lands

Since hunters and anglers are the biggest drivers of conservation funding in America, the CEC hopes they will be acknowledged and consulted on important developments. 

Alas, the Biden administration loves to pay lip service publicly then throw these stakeholders– who pumped a historic $1.6 billion back to all 50 states in 2022 — under the bus. 

Last fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced new fishing and hunting openings on national wildlife refuges will be conditioned on lead phaseouts. This year, the proposed Bureau of Land Management Public Lands Rule (or “Conservation and Landscape Health Rule”) is expected to be finalized and isn’t expected to guarantee hunting access–a true conservation practice–on multiple-use lands. 

Over $27 billion, largely from hunters and anglers, has gone back to habitat restoration, wildlife conservation, hunters education, and public target shooting ranges.

Food For Thought

Did we overlook some energy and conservation-themed resolutions to prioritize in 2024? Tell us what you’d like to see from the Center for Energy and Conservation and subscribe to our monthly newsletter Clearing the Air.