The federal Recovering America’s Wildlife Act cleared the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on a 15-5 vote Thursday, advancing what proponents call the “most significant wildlife conservation bill in half a century.”
This bill, which is sponsored by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, and Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, would invest $1.4 billion annually in efforts to restore wildlife and address biodiversity loss.
If it becomes law, the funding would be used for projects identified in state wildlife action plans and at least 15 percent would be dedicated to threatened and endangered species recovery.
In a press conference following the vote, Heinrich described habitat restoration as the “preventative medicine of wildlife recovery.”
“It’s always worse to wait till you’re in the emergency room and by funding more upfront wildlife habitat restoration work, we can prevent many more species from ever being listed as threatened or endangered,” he said.
The National Wildlife Federation praised the committee’s vote in a press release.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most significant wildlife-conservation bill in half a century — and today’s strong bipartisan vote brings it one tremendous step closer to becoming law,” Collin O’Mara, the president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said. “With more than one-third of all wildlife species in the United States at heightened risk of extinction, we are incredibly grateful for all of the Republicans, Democrats and independents working together to advance this historic legislation that matches the magnitude of America’s wildlife crisis.”