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On July 9, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies passed the 2015 appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. The bill includes numerous policy riders seriously damaging to wildlife and important habitat including some likely to lead to the extinction of several key species, Defenders of Wildlife said.
The bill includes harmful provisions that eliminate or delay protections for imperiled species including the greater sage-grouse and Gunnison sage-grouse under the ESA. It shockingly overturns authority under the 80 year-old Migratory Bird Conservation Act to create and expand national wildlife refuges for the protection of migratory birds. The bill would also interfere with the regulation of toxic lead ammunition despite clear scientific evidence that lead shot is harmful to wildlife and humans alike.
The following is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“This short-sighted and reckless appropriations bill is a recipe for extinction. Congress is supposed to provide stewardship for our natural resources, but what the House has drafted today is a legislative disaster for wildlife.
“The House has taken it upon itself to play scientist and block the listing of numerous species of grouse under the ESA, despite dramatically declining populations and the myriad threats they face. It’s a transparent move to keep special interests happy even at the expense of our natural heritage.
“In this age of continued habitat loss and destruction coupled with climate change, Congress should be facilitating the growth of the refuge system, not undermining it. But the House appropriations bill hamstrings the creation and expansion of wildlife refuges. The provision that prevents the National Wildlife Refuge System from expanding or creating new refuges without more legislation is just an insulting roadblock to hinder the important work of those tasked with caring for our refuges and our wildlife.
“All this, plus a long list of the other harmful provisions that attempt to undo the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect our nation’s important waters and wetlands, makes the House Interior budget a nightmare for our natural heritage.”
This text was originally a press release from Defenders of Wildlife. The original can be viewed on their website here. You can follow them on Facebook or sign up to receive emails of important press releases here.
Photo Credit: Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons