Wildlife Bears Heavy Burden Under Debt Ceiling Deal

"The heavier a burden our conservation programs are forced to bear in the short term, the higher a risk we face in the long term."

08-02-2011 // Miles Grant
Bald Eagle

Legislation to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal spending passed Congress today and was signed into law by President Obama. The deal imposes discretionary budget program caps, resulting in reductions for the Departments of Interior, Agriculture and Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, and other agencies that focus on conservation.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:

“Over the past 30 years, America’s investment in parks, wildlife, clean water, and clean air has fallen from 1.7% of federal spending to 0.6% of federal spending. In return for this tiny sliver of the overall federal budget, we’ve seen progress in wildlife conservation and protecting air and water for our families. That investment also grows our economy, with programs implemented by Department of Interior and Environmental Protection Agency alone spurring more than three million jobs in communities throughout America.

“The deal to resolve the Congressional debt ceiling crisis and avoid the catastrophe of a national default is clearly a relief for America. But moving forward, members of Congress must remember the heavier a burden our conservation programs are forced to bear in the short term, the higher a risk we face in the long term - not just in higher public health costs, but in jeopardizing the wildlife and special places that generations of Americans have protected and handed down to their children and grandchildren.”

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