“We were worried that a diminished bill might cut imperative funding for endangered species recovery, but we are thrilled to see these provisions and many more have made it through.”
After months of negotiations, today, the House leadership released a near-final version of the Build Back Better Act, a core piece of President Biden’s agenda that has drawn stiff opposition and been the source of intense conflict in a politically divided Congress. The bill has also been called the reconciliation bill and is a separate piece of legislation from the infrastructure bill currently in the House.
“This version of the bill should be welcome news to wildlife lovers and reflects a concerted effort to address the joint biodiversity and climate change crises,” said Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations for Defenders of Wildlife. “We were worried that a diminished bill might cut imperative funding for endangered species recovery, but we are thrilled to see these provisions and many more have made it through.”
Among the notable investments in the $1.85 trillion bill:
• A repeal of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oil and Gas program.
• $200 million to implement the Endangered Species Act, our nation’s most effective tool for preventing extinction.
• $250 million for National Wildlife Refuges and state wildlife management areas to address climate resilience, wildlife corridors, invasive species, and extreme weather events.
• $10 million to identify, conserve, and manage wildlife corridors.
• Investments in the National Forest System, including $50 million to protect at-risk species, $50 million to conserve older and mature forests and $50 million for the nonlethal resolution of livestock-predator conflicts.
• $450 million to restore fish passage and reconnect wildlife habitat by fixing culverts and decommissioning unneeded roads through the Forest Service’s Legacy Roads and Trails program.
• Billions of dollars of funding spread across various departments for a Civilian Climate Corps.
“This bill, as it stands now, would be a historic investment and is direly needed. It must be passed with the urgency owed to the serious perils our planet is facing. The sooner the better,” said Dewey.