FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gwen Dobbs, Defenders of Wildlife, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-772-0269
The ‘Recovering America’s Wildlife Act’ Fails to Adequately Respond to the Extinction Crisis
WASHINGTON (December 5, 2019) – The House Natural Resources Committee today approved the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), H.R. 3742, introduced by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). 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 endangered species, ones federally recognized as being most at risk of extinction. The bill also lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure this new federal funding stream provided to the states is being effectively targeted to meet the bill’s objectives.
Several recent analyses indicated much higher spending is needed to recover endangered species, typically in the range of $1.6 to $2.3 billion annually. The need for increased endangered species funding has also been echoed by nearly 1,900 scientists in a recent letter published in Science and follows the comprehensive Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment on species extinction and loss of biodiversity. To address our most urgent wildlife conservation challenge, the 15% of funds allocated in the bill for management and recovery of federally listed threatened and endangered species must be significantly increased and additional accountability measures added.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife issued the following statement:
“In the face of 1 million species at risk of extinction globally, Congress must enact legislation that would guarantee significant funding to combat extinction and to conserve imperiled species. While the ‘Recovering America’s Wildlife Act’ would establish significant ongoing, dedicated funding for wildlife and habitat conservation, the bill fails to invest necessary and appropriate resources for imperiled species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Any new federal funding stream for wildlife must respond to the threat facing the more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered in the United States.
“While Defenders of Wildlife strongly supports increased wildlife conservation funding, we are disappointed that the committee has not appropriately responded to the extinction crisis by more equitably allocating the bill’s massive new federal resources for wildlife. We do not support the bill as currently written. The bill still does not provide anywhere near the level of resources necessary to aid recovery of species on the brink of extinction.
“The bill still has a long way to go before becoming law, especially during the current Congress. We will continue to urge that the bill include sufficient accountability measures and adequate funds for threatened and endangered species conservation efforts that are central to addressing the extinction crisis.”