Exclusive–Conservatives Launch Environmental Group: Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Not Socialism Should Guide Conservation Efforts

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AP Photo/Heribert Proepper

Drew Bond and John Hart acknowledge they don’t fit the stereotype of conservatives who embrace the virtues of fossil fuels, although they believe in an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. But Bond, who owns a solar business, and Hart, who runs a sustainable farm operation, also say they are like a lot of other conservatives.

“We realized we are not outliers – most conservatives think like we do,” Hart told Breitbart News. “In fact, we care about the environment, we care about stewardship, we care about responsibility, and we’re frustrated that the progressive left has essentially taken charge of the debate and that poses a threat to our national and economic environment.”

That epiphany led Hart and Bond to launch the Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions, or C3 Solutions, a 501-C3 devoted to advancing conservative environmental policies.

“Conservatives need to be out there leading the charge,” Hart said. “This is not an issue conservatives should run from but should run toward.”

Before this joint venture, Bond was chief of staff at The Heritage Foundation under Ed Feulner and Hart was communications director for the late Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

But the two aren’t going it alone. They have assembled a group conservatives who share their vision for environmental conservatism. Those serving on C3 Solution’s advisory board include former Congressman, Senator, and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who was also a founding adviser; Lauren Noyes, former Hill staffer and executive director of Faith and Law; and Justin Knopf, a fifth generation farmer in Kansas featured in the book and Netflix film, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman.

Breitbart News asked Hart and Bond if conservatives addressing climate change means they accept they idea that man is somehow responsible for the climate or changing it.

They said humans obviously have an impact on the planet and the left has labeled that as climate change. The issue is, they said,  how humans manage their impact.

“The way that the left approaches any problem, particularly this problem of climate change, is to say let the government solve it,” Bond said. “I think what conservatives, [the] free-market enterprise crowd would say is, ‘Let’s let entrepreneurs solve it. Let’s let innovation solve it.”

“The government should be limited,” Bond said. “The government’s role is not to solve our problems.”

Earlier this month, Bond and Hart wrote an op-ed published on the Real Clear Energy website about their mission, which states, in part:

Conservatives need to face this challenge head-on. Doing anything less puts the future of capitalism and our free enterprise system at risk.

The answer is not to convince conservatives to become moderates, or to approach Al Gore with bended knee, but instead raise a banner of bold colors in a debate dominated by the drab gray of socialism. It is time for conservatives to remind Republicans that the answer may be for the government to do less so that the private sector can do more.

Ceding this debate to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would be an enormous strategic mistake. The “Green New Deal’s” wildly unrealistic proposals to end carbon emissions in a decade would lead to economic deforestation and terrible pain for middle-and lower-income families. The left’s very costly virtue signaling (with estimates ranging from $52 – $93 trillion) would do almost nothing to improve the global climate. As Nick Loris at The Heritage Foundation notes, “[T]he U.S. could cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 100 percent, and it would not make a discernible difference in global warming.”

In the commentary and when speaking to Breitbart News, Bond and Hart said the Trump administration’s effort at deregulation across the federal government is also a conservative step in the right direction.

“In many cases it the environmental left and the extreme positions that actually impede some of the cleanest technologies from going forward into the market,” Bond said.

“From that perspective I think the Trump administration is doing a great job of looking at that law and the regulations and how that needs to be updated with today’s innovation and where we want innovation to go tomorrow,” Bond said.

That includes reviewing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), from the 1970s and has become the third rail of environmentalism to activists even if its outdated policies are actually harmful to the cause.

Breitbart News also asked Bond and Hart about their group and its mission in the coronavirus era.

“I think we’re jumping into this debate at a critically important moment for that very reason,” Hart said. “I think we have to have a very honest, direct conversation about what are the economic impact of these lockdown policies.”

“We’re living through a real time experiment where we’re seeing the consequences of a lockdown,” Hart said. “What we’ve seen unequivocally is that there’s a very high cost and a very high human cost in terms of lost economic opportunity. There are lives lost because of the lockdown.”

“It is very disconcerting to see the left being so cavalier about using this moment to argue for draconian and extreme climate solutions,” Hart said.

“All the more reason for conservatives to, frankly, be the voice of sanity and science,” Hart said.

Bond said the conservative approach to climate change not only “benefit the climate, but they also benefit our economy, [and] they also benefit our national security.”

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