On June 14, the United States House of Representatives voted 231 to 190 to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. This bill dedicates more than $1.3 billion to conservation efforts. 15 percent of the funds will be designated for federally listed endangered species.
Bipartisan environmental legislation
States, territories, and Tribes will be given funding to protect the over 1,600 threatened and endangered species in the United States. Vulnerable species are already given some protection by the Endangered Species Act, but threatened and endangered ones aren’t given nearly enough funds or protection.
This bill was an amendment to the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. This sought to protect hunted wildlife by enabling states to tax firearms and ammunition, with tax revenue going toward conservation. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act goes a step further by using funds for the conservation of non-game species.
“Too many people don’t realize… that roughly one-third of our wildlife is at increased risk of extinction,” said lead House sponsor Debbie Dingell.
While 1,600 species are listed as endangered, over 12,000 are deemed threatened, rare, or vulnerable. Unanimous and robust legislative action and agency follow-through is needed to protect the United States’ biodiversity. The House is, by passing the bill, united in this cause, and the Senate has bipartisan support for its companion bill. The White House has voiced its support in a statement.
“As the urgency of addressing a rapidly warming climate, mass extinction, and other conservation challenges increases, it is important that strong and innovative action is taken to ensure that fish and wildlife managers are provided with the tools they need to carry out science-based conservation actions that are so important to healthy populations of fish and wildlife,” said the statement.