Thursday, November 3, 2011

Going After the One Percent

In what is ostensibly an effort to address the nation's budgetary woes, Congress is going after the one percent. No, not that one percent. Some in Congress are targeting the one percent of the federal budget that is allocated to all land, water, ocean, and wildlife programs to try to make ends meet. 

Image credit Flickr user Neelob
The House Interior, Environment, and related Agencies appropriations bill (HR 2584) calls for a variety of potentially devastating cuts to wildlife and conservation programs. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is targeted for the worst cuts, potentially reducing it by nearly 21 percent.

By slashing budgets for wildlife, Congress is putting our natural resources -- and our economy -- at unnecessary risk.  
  • Major programs at 128 national wildlife refuges would be closed or eliminated, costing hundreds of jobs and putting critical habitat at risk. 
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) programs would be cut by more than 20 percent. Included in these cuts is a call to zero out the ESA listing account, preventing FWS from listing any new species regardless of their status. Not only would this put species at greater risk of extinction, but it would ultimately result in greater expense to taxpayers by waiting until these species further languish to grant protections.
  • Programs to support migratory birds, international species, FWS law enforcement that prevents poaching and smuggling and grants to help cash-strapped states protect species would all be impacted.
Americans value wildlife and support conservation measures. We spend more than $120 billion yearly pursuing wildlife related recreation. The ability to continue to enjoy our unique natural treasures, in addition to this economic benefit, is placed at risk by these cuts. 

A recent poll commissioned by the Endangered Species Coalition found that the majority of Americans support the Endangered Species Act (84%) and believe decisions about whether to remove the Endangered Species Act’s protections should be based on science, not politics (63%).  Using funding bills to attack regulations that safeguard our nation's wildlife is not what the public wants and it's potentially disastrous for wildlife.

Take action to stop this attack on wildlife funding. Send your Representative and Senators an email today.


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