“Subcommittee Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and House appropriators have met the moment by providing critically needed funding increases for endangered species protections and our National Wildlife Refuges as we face the worsening threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. We are pleased to see these preliminary investments and the removal of the senseless sage-grouse rider. The House must hold firm in maintaining these advancements as the bill moves forward.”

Mary Beth Beetham, legislative director for Defenders of Wildlife
Washington, DC

Defenders of Wildlife is encouraged to see significant investments made towards addressing the biodiversity crisis in the first version of the House Interior and Environment appropriations bill—released yesterday—which if passed would take key programs to their highest funding levels ever. 

“Subcommittee Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and House appropriators have met the moment by providing critically needed funding increases for endangered species protections and our National Wildlife Refuges as we face the worsening threats of biodiversity loss and climate change,” said Mary Beth Beetham, director of legislative affairs  for Defenders of Wildlife. “We are pleased to see these preliminary investments and the removal of the senseless sage-grouse rider. The House must hold firm in maintaining these advancements as the bill moves forward.” 

•    The bill boosts the flagship endangered species program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Ecological Services, by $77 million, a 28 percent increase. 

•    The bill increases funding for the FWS National Wildlife Refuge System by $55 million, a 10 percent increase. The Refuge System provides habitat to 513 threatened and endangered species.   

•    The bill also boosts funding for recovery of threatened and endangered species on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands by $6 million. This nearly 20 percent increase would come close to doubling previous funding levels over the last 2 years. BLM administers habitat for approximately 330 species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), many of which depend on these lands for survival.

•    The bill excludes the rider which prohibits the FWS from protecting the imperiled sage-grouse under the ESA. Sage grouse populations have declined 80% since 1965. 

After the Interior and Environment subcommittee votes today, the full Appropriations Committee will act next week and the House is expected to consider its appropriations bills in July.  The Senate will be developing its version of the bill this summer.

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Communications Specialist
hhammer@defenders.org
(202) 772-0295
Director of Legislative Affairs
(202) 682-9400

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