Unions, conservationists join forces to protect sporting rights

Need more proof that green is gaining steam? Voila: a brand-new partnership between a Republican-leaning conservation group and 20 labor unions that represent nearly 5 million people. Worried that hunters and anglers are being barred from prime playgrounds, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance will push for increased federal conservation funding and for access to public lands. “We can make the union movement and environmentalism compatible,” says International Association of Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger. Beyond that, says Jim Range, board chair of the alliance-building Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, “It opens up a tremendous amount of territory for us to work on both sides of the aisle.” In a divided country, says Phil Brick, environmental politics professor at Washington state’s Whitman College, “these kind of alliances are the only way anything is going to get done over the next 10 to 20 years in American politics.” Annual dues: $25. Actual progress: Priceless.