Washington, DC

In response to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture release of its draft Farm Bill, Defenders of Wildlife is voicing its opposition to the legislation. As drafted, the bill includes several key elements of that would detrimentally affect the nation’s ability to combat the biodiversity and climate crises and, further, severely weakens landmark environmental laws that support wildlife and eliminate key climate safeguards from Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding. 

“At a time when conservation progress is imperative, this bill instead shortsightedly strips down the landmark environmental laws protecting productive, climate-resilient ecosystems that farmers rely on,” said Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations for Defenders of Wildlife. “Time is running out for taking meaningful action to combat climate change and biodiversity loss and Congress should be promoting, not undermining those efforts, especially in a bill with such staying power.” 

Among the harmful policies in the bill are attempts to revitalize past legislative proposals, such as Save our Sequoias and Cottonwood, that strip key Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act safeguards protecting imperiled wildlife and their habitats on our national forests and grasslands. Further, the proposed bill would increase the Forest Services’ ability – from 3,000 acres to 10,000 acres--to exclude certain activities such as logging and road building from environmental review and public input. 

Additionally, though the bill incorporates billions of dollars from the IRA into conservation programs, it eliminates important climate guardrails from that funding to help ensure farmers receive the help they need in facing climate-related challenges such as drought, flood and wildfire. 

For over 75 years, Defenders of Wildlife has remained dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come. To learn more, please visit https://defenders.org/newsroom or follow us on X @Defenders.


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