Representatives of the Outdoor Industry Association were in Washington, D.C. last month, tirelessly promoting outdoor recreation and the industry’s policy priorities. As a result, what was a busy week of hard work is now reaping benefits, according to Rich Harper, OIA’s director of government affairs.
“From our work on climate solutions to outlining key priorities for federal tariff reform and trade initiatives, OIA continues to ensure that the outdoor industry is front and center in critical outdoor legislation,” Harper wrote in an article posted on OIA’s website.
Earlier this month, the association released its 2022 Policy Agenda, reinforcing its policy commitments and goals for this year. OIA considers the agenda a crucial resource as it informs policymakers about climate change, recreation and conservation, international trade, and state and local priorities of the organization.
The association also worked with the California Natural Resources Agency in organizing a webinar last month to provide insight on the 30×30 initiative in the state. Topics discussed were 30×30’s federal level implications, the importance of companies’ involvement in social impact and advocacy, as well as integration of the initiative into their marketing.
California, on October 7, 2020, swore to protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
In advancing federal outdoor legislation, the Outdoor Industry Association worked hard in making sure that provisions concerning the climate were included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act before it was signed into law. The legislation pushes for conservation and recreation. It also addresses critical infrastructure challenges in the United States.
Furthermore, OIA urged the Biden administration to use resources from the new law to advance wildlife crossings, ensure aquatic connectivity and fish passage, promote clean water, and sustain restoration goals. On March 3, OIA signed a letter along with 51 other hunting, fishing, and conservation organizations.
The association also continues to support federal tariff reform and movements that alleviate unnecessary import taxes for outdoor businesses. In March, the outdoors group called on Congress to create a transparent and fair tariff exclusion process for products subject to 301 tariffs “as they are critical to providing interim relief for U.S. businesses.” OIA believes that these “disproportionately high” taxes hinder innovation, affect U.S. jobs, and artificially inflate retail prices on outdoor products. The group signed a letter along with 178 trade associations among Americans for Free Trade (AFT).
“As companies in the U.S. continue to recover from the global pandemic, face supply chain disruptions, and operate in an inflationary economic environment, OIA will continue to call on the administration to use more strategic tools to address China’s unfair trade practices without further damaging U.S. competitiveness,” OIA said.
On March 29, OIA also joined 176 trade organizations within AFT in sending a letter to Ambassador Tai, the US trade representative, expressing support for a fully transparent review of the Section 301 tariffs on products from China. The letter included a comprehensive economic assessment of the tariffs’ impact on the American economy.
Moreover, as outdoor companies continue to face higher transportation and raw material costs, the OIA noted that action on trade provisions is necessary to sustain these businesses’ operations which will generate more jobs, and help develop new products.
On March 22, the association submitted a letter to Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, calling for the inclusion of trade provisions in the reconciled version of H.R. 4521 (The America Competes Act of 2022) and S.1260 (the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021).
The association also highlighted one of its initiatives to help fight climate change—educating businesses. The OIA held a webinar on March 29, highlighting vital climate provisions in BBB, such as the Civilian Climate Corps, natural climate solutions, and advancing the shift to renewable energy. During the webinar, the group also discussed how companies could be advocates for the planet.
Last year, outdoor companies supported investments in the Build Back Better plan (BBB) to fight climate change. Today, the Outdoor Industry Association is asking these outdoor businesses “to step up the plate and help get BBB across the finish line.”
Outdoor Industry Association is the mouthpiece of the outdoor recreation industry, both locally and in Washington D.C. The association serves over 1,200 manufacturers, retailers distributors, suppliers, sales representatives, nonprofits, and outdoorists.