WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The dates and locations of the second set of national listening sessions on cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships are now set.

The U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, the EPA and the Council on Economic Quality are holding the sessions.

These sessions, the second group of some two dozen to be held around the country, are scheduled at the following locations:

  • Omaha, Nebr., 1 p.m., Aug. 24, 2006, Qwest Center Omaha-Convention Center Junior Ballroom. Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service Dale Hall will attend.

  • Muncie, Ind., 10 a.m., Aug. 26, 2006, Horizon Convention Center Exhibition Hall. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett will attend.

  • Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 a.m., Aug. 28, 2006. The Carlson Center. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will attend.

  • Colorado Springs, Colo., 9 a.m., Sept.r 15, 2006, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the Gymnasium United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, Mark Rey will attend.
  • Brewer, Maine, 4 p.m., Sept. 20, 2006, Jeff's Catering Banquet and Convention Center. Kempthorne will attend.

  • Brunswick, Ga., 1 p.m., Sept. 21, 2006, Coastal Georgia Community College, Southeast Georgia Conference Center. Hall will attend.

  • Colton, Calif., 10 a.m., Sept. 28, 2006, Colton High School Auditorium. Kempthorne will attend.

  • The listening sessions will give citizens an opportunity to exchange ideas on incentives, partnership programs, and regulations that can improve results and promote cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships.

    The meetings are the latest in a series of discussions the Administration has hosted since the President's Conference on Cooperative Conservation in August 2005. The conference identified three broad approaches to improving conservation results: promoting cooperation within the federal government, promoting cooperation between the federal government and others, and eliminating barriers to cooperation in existing policy.

    Some aspects of these ideas are reflected in a recently released summary of new legislation. Other aspects will be explored in the listening sessions announced today.

    The meetings will focus on issues, programs, and policies mentioned frequently at the White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. Discussion topics will include:

  • How can the federal government enhance wildlife habitat, species protection and other conservation outcomes through regulatory and voluntary conservation programs?

  • How can the federal government enhance cooperation among federal agencies and with states, tribes, and local communities in the application of environmental protection and conservation laws?

  • How can the federal government work with states, tribes, and other public- and private-sector partners to improve science used in environmental protection and conservation?

  • How can the federal government work cooperatively with businesses and landowners to protect the environment and promote conservation?

  • How can the federal government better respect the interests of people with ownership in land, water, and other natural resources?

  • Previously, the first eight of the listening sessions were announced. Additional details (and a time change) not available at the time of the initial announcement are included below:

  • Spokane, Wash., 10 a.m., Aug. 9, 2006, Spokane Convention Center, Bays 1 and 2, 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd., Spokane, 99201. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will attend.

  • Helena, Mont., 1 p.m., Aug. 14, 2006, Public Health and Human Services Building, Auditorium. EPA Regional Administrator Robbie Roberts will attend.

  • Roanoke, Va., 9 a.m., Aug. 14, 2006, Roanoke College in Salem, Va. Colket Center, Wortmann Ballroom. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett will attend.

  • Columbus, Ohio, 4 p.m., Aug. 21, 2006, Ohio State University Agricultural Administration Building Auditorium. Scarlett will attend.

  • Redmond, Ore., 10 a.m., Aug. 22, 2006, Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center. Kempthorne will attend.

  • Jefferson City, Mo., 1 p.m., Aug. 29, 2006, Runge Conservation Nature Center. USDA Deputy Under Secretary Natural Resources and Environment Dave Tenny will attend. (Note: this is a time change from previous announcement.)

  • Enid, Okla., 1 p.m. Aug. 30, 2006, Cherokee Strip Conference Center, Piner Hall. Tenny will attend.

  • Redding, California, 9 a.m., Sept. 13, 2006, Shasta County Board of Supervisors Chamber. USDA Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey will attend.

  • SOURCE: USDA news release.