Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) today in the House of Representatives. The legislation would amend the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to fund the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Subaccount to support management of Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and other purposes. The bill promises $1.3975 billion annually in dedicated federal funding to support states and tribes to conserve SGCN, but unfortunately shortchanges those species federally recognized as being most at risk of extinction. To address our most urgent wildlife conservation challenge, the 10 percent of funds allocated in the bill for management and recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species must be significantly increased.
Statement issued on behalf Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity:
“Given the extinction crisis our planet now faces, Congress must enact legislation that would guarantee significant funding to combat extinction and to conserve imperiled species. While the ‘Recovering America’s Wildlife Act’ includes new funding for imperiled wildlife and habitat conservation, the bill does not focus sufficient resources on the most imperiled species, those listed under the Endangered Species Act. It would be a terrible lost opportunity if Congress were to create a historic new funding stream for wildlife that doesn’t strongly respond to the existential threat facing the more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered in the United States.
“Although we do not support the bill as currently written, we underscore our strong support for wildlife conservation funding. We appreciate the various improvements made to this year’s bill, including support for tribal wildlife conservation programs, greater accountability in conservation expenditures and an updated funding source that won’t incentivize accelerating climate change. Should the bill advance legislatively, we will work with the bill sponsors, House Natural Resources Committee Chair Grijalva and other members of Congress to ensure that the bill adequately funds threatened and endangered species conservation efforts that are central to addressing the extinction crisis."