Bipartisan Wildlife Bill Left Out of Omnibus Funding Package
Conservation Northwest / Dec 21, 2022 / Legislation, Restoring Wildlife
Seattle, Wash.— A bipartisan wildlife bill that its supporters have dubbed “the biggest wildlife bill in fifty years” has been left out of the omnibus spending package, leaving very few options for passing the bill this Congress.
“This is a commonsense, cost-effective approach that has broad support on both sides of the aisle,” said Paula Swedeen, Policy Director for Conservation Northwest. “Wildlife in Washington and around the country are increasingly at risk. Congress needs to get a bill like this done sooner rather than later,” said Swedeen.
The $1.4B Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would distribute $1.3B yearly amongst the state and territorial wildlife agencies. Federally recognized tribes would split $97.5 annually to manage wildlife on their lands. It would also fund innovative programs to recover already endangered wildlife.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would have received $24.6 million annually to help 268 species of concern, including pygmy rabbits, fisher and sharp-tailed grouse.
Conservation Northwest is also disappointed that Governor Inslee did not include a request from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for $47.6 million to restore Washington’s biodiversity in his budget proposal.
Biodiversity loss is as much a crisis as climate change. We cannot wait to act.
We will work with the legislature this upcoming session to ensure that these funds are included in the 2023-2025 biennial budget.
“The bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is the most important wildlife legislation in half a century, and we must find a way for it to pass. The historic legislation will empower states, Tribes, and territories to ensure that the full diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants thrive for future generations,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Inaction is the ally of extinction, and we will continue to push tirelessly to ensure that the bill does not meet the same fate facing thousands of species of wildlife and plants.”
Senator Patty Murray is among the Senate cosponsors. Seven members of the Washington state delegation cosponsored the House bill.