Legislation would help safeguard wildlife and habitat from global warming's impacts

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Natural Resources Committee bill complements Waxman-Markey draft legislation

(04/30/2009) - WASHINGTON – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee, led by Subcommittee Chairman Raul Grijalva and joined by Chairman Nick Rahall and Reps. Norm Dicks, John Dingell, George Miller, Mike Thompson, Frank Pallone, Lois Capps, Rush Holt, and Madeleine Bordallo unveiled a bill aimed at helping to safeguard healthy populations of fish, wildlife and plants in the face of global warming.

The “Climate Change Safeguards for Natural Resources Conservation Act’’ (H.R. 2192) complements the comprehensive draft energy and climate legislation proposed last month by Chairman Henry A. Waxman and Rep. Edward A. Markey. Today’s bill is intended to ensure that energy and climate legislation addresses not only the root causes of global warming, but also helps wildlife and natural resources survive the impacts of global warming that are already being seen on America’s lands and waters.

“Global warming poses two equally critical challenges; curbing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and dealing with the effects that are already being seen and felt on the ground,” said Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. “Congress must address both simultaneously in order to maintain America’s natural resources and biodiversity, which are the backbone of a vibrant economy and public health. The bill introduced today will help ensure that we address both of these challenges as quickly as possible.”

The “Climate Change Safeguards for Natural Resources Conservation Act” outlines the essential national policy actions, including the development of a national strategy, necessary to address the impacts of global warming on fish, wildlife and native plants. This bill must and should be funded through pollution permit proceeds generated by climate legislation. A responsible level of investment in safeguarding the natural systems we all depend upon for survival is dedicating annually 5% of the total allowance value. This funding would allow land and wildlife managers to prepare now for global warming’s impacts, and make it easier for federal, state and tribal agencies to work together to develop and implement cross-agency plans for managing natural resources in a warming world.

“Greenhouse gas pollution lies at the root of the global warming threats now facing America’s wildlife and natural resources, so it makes sense that the funding to safeguard these resources would come from the polluters themselves, through the sale of carbon permits,” said Schlickeisen. “Global warming is already impacting all of us: threatening the water we drink, the air we breathe, the medicines we use, the food we eat, and the forests and fisheries we depend on. The longer we wait to solve this challenge, the more expensive it will be to our society. Reducing greenhouse gas pollution is only part of the solution – as this bill recognizes, we must also take proactive steps to protect our wildlife and natural resources before it is too late.”

Read more about Defenders' work to safeguard wildlife in the face of global warming

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.  For more information, visit www.defenders.org.

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Contact(s):

Erin McCallum, 202-772-3217
Sara Chieffo, 202-772-0270

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