WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The next set of listening sessions on cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships has been announced by the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, the EPA and the Council on Environmental Quality.

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

Corpus Christi, Texas, 1 p.m., Sept. 5, 2006, Omni Marina Hotel, Riviera Ballroom. U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary David Sampson will attend.

Honolulu, Hawaii, Time and Place TBD, Sept 7, 2006 -- CEQ Chairman James Connaughton will attend

Show Low, Arizona, 10 a.m., Sept. 12, 2006, Northland Pioneer College, Silver Creek Campus (Snowflake), Performing Arts Center Theatre (PAC-103). U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Mark Rey will attend.

South Florida, Time and Place TBD, Sept 15, 2006. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez will attend.

Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 10 a.m., Sept. 18, 2006, Montgomery County Community College - Community Room, 101 College Drive. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will attend.

Pinedale, Wyoming, 1 p.m., Sept. 19, 2006; Sublette County Library, Lovatt Room, 156 S. Tyler. Michael Bogert, Counselor to the Secretary of the Interior, will attend.

Orlando, Florida, Time TBD, Sept. 25, 2006, Orange County Convention Center. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Johnson will attend.

Waco, Texas, 10 a.m., Sept. 27, 2006, Waco Convention Center. Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary David Verhey

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.

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?

  • Other sessions previously announced:

    Other upcoming listening sessions that were previously announced include the following:

    Columbus, Ohio, 4 p.m., August 21, 2006, Ohio State University Agricultural Administration Building Auditorium, Interior Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett will attend.

    Redmond, Oregon, 8:30 a.m., August 22, 2006, Deschutes County Fairgrounds Expo Center, South Sister Building. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will attend.

    Omaha, Nebraska, 1 p.m., August 24, 2006, Qwest Center Omaha-Convention Center Junior Ballroom, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dale Hall will attend.

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

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

    Jefferson City, Missouri, 1 p.m., August 29, 2006, Runge Conservation Nature Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Natural Resources and Environment Dave Tenny to attend. (Note: time changed from previous announcement.)

    Enid, Oklahoma, 1 p.m. August 30, 2006, Cherokee Strip Conference Center, Piner Hall, USDA Deputy Under Secretary Dave Tenny will attend.

    Redding, California, 1 p.m., Sept. 13, 2006, Cascade Theater, U. S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment Mark Rey will attend.

    Colorado Springs, Colorado, 9 a.m., Sept. 15, 2006, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the Gymnasium, USDA Under Secretary Mark Rey will attend.

    Brewer, Maine, 4 p.m., Sept. 20, 2006, Jeff's Catering Banquet and Convention Center, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will attend.

    Brunswick, Georgia, 1 p.m., Sept. 21, 2006, Coastal Georgia Community College, SE Georgia Conference Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dale Hall will attend.

    Colton, California, 10 a.m., Sept. 28, 2006, Colton High School Auditorium, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne will attend.

    SOURCE: USDA news release.