Conservation News

Bipartisan Wildlife Conservation Bill Passes the House Today—next stop the Senate

Today, a major win for wildlife and a big step closer to the finish line for this hugely popular and impactful bill

Today, a major win for America’s wildlife was accomplished, renewing hope for the ultimate enactment of this historic legislation in this Congress. The U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of passing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.2773) on the floor, advancing the bill one important step closer toward passage. The final vote was 231 to 190 including Republicans and Democrats, highlighting the importance of wildlife conservation to both parties and unifying the Congress with a shared goal of advancing this historic bill that is so desperately needed to fund wildlife conservation in America. This vote now kicks the bill over to the Senate to take action.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.2773), introduced by Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), will dedicate $1.3 billion annually to state fish and wildlife agencies to implement their science-based wildlife action plans and an additional $97.5 million for tribal fish and wildlife managers to conserve fish and wildlife on tribal lands and waters as well as a complementary federal component that would fund endangered species recovery planning in coordination with states and tribes. This will provide dedicated funding, so state and tribal wildlife managers can proactively conserve fish and wildlife species of greatest conservation need in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner before federal listing under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. This bill will get Americans back to work immediately, creating an estimated 33,000 jobs each year restoring natural resources and bolstering community resilience while protecting our valuable natural infrastructure. This bill has 194 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 35 in the Senate and is perhaps the most impactful wildlife conservation funding bill in a generation.

The Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife represents the national coalition of diverse stakeholders united around the shared vision for the future of wildlife conservation funding and strongly supports passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act in this Congress. Its members include the outdoor recreation, retail and manufacturing sector, the energy and automotive industries, private landowners, educational institutions, sportsmen’s and other conservation groups and state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies.

“Right now, the United States is facing an unprecedented biodiversity crisis,” said Congresswoman Dingell.  “We’ve already seen our nation’s beautiful monarch butterfly population plummet, and we’ve lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. Without significant a change in the way we finance conservation, more of the animals and wildlife we hold dear to our heart will become endangered. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is landmark legislation that takes long-overdue action to address this crisis by using innovative, on-the-ground collaboration that will protect our nation’s environmental heritage. We have a conservation, economic, and moral obligation to act in order to protect and recover America’s wildlife for future generations. Grateful to the broad, bipartisan coalition that has fought for this legislation, and I urge the Senate to act on this bill right away.”

Proactive conservation is good for wildlife, good for taxpayers, good for business and good for our communities. By directing funds to State Wildlife Action Plans through the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, America will be fueling shovel ready projects that immediately create jobs in a sector with one of the highest returns on investment and supporting continued world class outdoor recreation opportunities that contribute roughly $700 billion in annual economic output.

Not since enactment of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson acts, that provided critical funding for fish and wildlife on the brink of extinction, have we had an opportunity to pass legislation of such magnitude to the overall health and wellbeing of our wildlife and our communities. We hope Congress can continue down this positive path forward with bipartisan cooperation and pass this important bill this year.

“This positive vote in the House is a giant step forward for wildlife and a reaffirmation that conservation transcends party lines and politics,” said Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “We sincerely thank Congresswoman Dingell for her outstanding leadership and thanks to all those supporting the advancement of the bill today on the floor. We look forward to working with everyone on both sides of the aisle and the Capitol to get this bill across the finish line as soon as possible.”  

“America’s wildlife are in crisis, with more than 12,000 species at heightened risk of extinction if we fail to act. The bipartisan passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act — the most important wildlife-conservation legislation in a half century — affirms that there is consensus across the political spectrum that we can, and we must, prevent extinctions from our backyards to the backcountry,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Representative Debbie Dingell has worked tirelessly on behalf of this bill for years, and this historic vote cements her legacy as a wildlife champion.”

“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds the House passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bipartisan bill to turn the corner on species recovery and conservation before more burdensome measures are necessary,” said Jeff Crane, CSF President and CEO. “The passage of this bill out of the House is the culmination of years of work and we are thankful for the leadership of Congresswoman Dingell for spearheading this effort.”

“The Native American Fish and Wildlife Society is encouraged by today’s vote as it signals a step in the right direction to rectify historical exclusion and inequities in funding for Tribal fish and wildlife programs, “ said Native American Fish and Wildlife Society President, Elveda Martinez. “We thank Rep Dingell and all those who have shown unwavering commitment to passing the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.”

The cost of inaction is unacceptably high. Passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act starts us down a new path where we invest proactively in conservation rather than reacting to emergencies that cost taxpayers more than preventative measures like this one. We can’t afford to allow more species to slip into the abyss of extinction, so let’s roll up our sleeves and get this widely supported bill done and start to move the needle in the right direction for our wildlife.

Please visit OurNatureUSA.com and urge your U.S. Senators to act swiftly to support passage of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act to address our biodiversity crisis and allow future generations to enjoy the same abundant fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities that we have today—for Our Nature, Our Nation and Our Future.

The Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife formed in 2017 to secure funding for much needed conservation of our most precious natural resources, our fish and wildlife. The Alliance was built upon the strong partnership created by the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources. The Alliance consists of members representing more than a trillion dollars of economic impact, millions of non-exportable jobs, and tens of millions of members and consumers across the country, all who rely on healthy fish and wildlife populations. Our goal is to partner with all Americans to conserve our precious fish and wildlife and natural heritage for future generations. Learn more at  OurNatureUSA.com.

Follow the Alliance for America’s Fish & Wildlife

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