“This is a moment to be proud of. This is a key step closer to an unprecedented investment in our nation’s future as we face down the joint threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Wildlife lovers should be thrilled.”
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Build Back Better Act which, at $1.75 trillion, has many key provisions for the protection of endangered species, climate mitigation and adaptation and forest health.
“This is a moment to be proud of,” said Robert Dewey, vice president of government relations for Defenders of Wildlife. “This is a key step closer to an unprecedented investment in our nation’s future as we face down the joint threats of climate change and biodiversity loss. Wildlife lovers should be thrilled.”
The bill must next pass the Senate, where it faces a razor-thin margin.
“The benefits that would be provided by this bill will be long-lasting and impactful at a time when they are desperately needed,” said Dewey. “Thank you to the House leadership and all the pro-wildlife members of Congress who fought for this crucial funding.”
One of the biggest wins in the Build Back Better Act is the historic repeal of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Oil and Gas Program.
This provision bans new oil and gas leasing and buys back all existing leases in the 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic refuge, whose lands are sacred to indigenous Alaskans and home to incomparable wildlife.
“The Gwich’in people call the Arctic refuge coastal plain 'The Sacred Place Where Life Begins' because the Porcupine caribou herd on which they rely uses the area for calving and rearing young,” said Nicole Whittington-Evans, Alaska program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “It also provides critical habitat for polar bears threatened with extinction. We urge the Senate to finish the deal and protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.”