The House of Representatives passed an Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 6147) today that includes several extremely damaging provisions that would attack imperiled wildlife and undermine the strength of the Endangered Species Act. It also includes as a provision that would allow genetically engineered crops to be grown in national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted and provides funding for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s misguided and illegal plan to reorganize the Department of the Interior.
Statement from Robert Dewey, Vice President of Government Relations for Defenders of Wildlife:
“The House of Representatives passed an Interior Appropriations Bill saddled with anti-wildlife provisions that undermine the Endangered Species Act and derail land and wildlife conservation.
“These riders are a gross concession to states and agricultural and other special interests and have no place in must-pass legislation that is supposed to guide the funding and stewardship of our air, lands, waters and wildlife.
“Although the House rejected one anti-ESA rider during this week’s floor debate, they added four more by amendment, bringing the total number of anti-ESA riders in the bill to 12. Among the other damaging riders added to the bill is one that would allow genetically engineered crops on wildlife refuges, undermining the biological integrity of the principal system of lands reserved for wildlife and habitat.
“While we were heartened that one amendment that would have blocked funding for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse was rejected, it does not absolve the litany of anti-wildlife riders in this bill. Scientists, not Congress, should decide which species need protection.
“We urge Congress to pass a clean Interior bill that is not only free of these insidious riders, but also fully funds vital conservation programs. These provisions have no place in an Interior Appropriations Bill designed to preserve our nation’s heritage and wildlife, not destroy it.”