For Immediate Release, June 21, 2022
Stephanie Kurose, (202) 849-8395, firstname.lastname@example.org
House Democrats Provide Long-Overdue Funding for Endangered Species Act
WASHINGTON— The House Appropriations Committee will vote on a funding bill today for the U.S. Department of the Interior that would provide $355 million for endangered species conservation — an increase of $77 million above last year’s budget.
The legislation would provide $25.9 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect imperiled animals and plants still waiting for protection under the Endangered Species Act. This is an increase of $4.7 million above last year’s levels and is the largest increase to the agency’s listing program in decades.
“We’re grateful to Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro for recognizing the urgent need to address the extinction crisis in this country,” said Stephanie Kurose, a senior policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Hundreds of our most vulnerable animals and plants are barely clinging to survival, so this desperately needed funding could be life-saving.”
The Service currently has a backlog of more than 300 species waiting for protection decisions, including the golden-winged warbler, dunes sagebrush lizard and monarch butterfly. A 2016 study found that species waited a median of 12 years to receive safeguards, in part due to funding shortfalls. At least 47 species have gone extinct waiting for protection.
The funding bill is also free of environmental poison pill riders, including the sage grouse rider, which would have prevented the listing of the charismatic bird for another year even as it continues to slide towards extinction.
“Preventing extinction hasn’t been a high priority for Congress in the past, but we’re hoping that’s starting to change,” said Kurose. “Now more than ever, we need to make bold investments in our natural heritage to make up for decades of underfunding and neglect. We urge the Senate to maintain these strong funding levels to give our imperiled wildlife a fighting chance.”
To process the listing backlog, the Service needs at least $78 million, or an increase of at least $15 million per year for at least the next three years.
The House recently passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act by a 231 to 190 vote. That legislation would provide $1.4 billion in funding to states, Tribal Nations and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the primary purpose of conserving and recovering imperiled species early enough so that they do not require the protections of the Endangered Species Act.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.